More than 100 repossession orders came before the circuit court in Mayo last month alone.
That is according to Mayo Dáil Deputy Dara Calleary (FF ), who said the situation for struggling families in arrears is set to worsen significantly.
Deputy Calleary said he expects banks will be moving in on more and more homeowners in arrears in a bid to offset the losses on their books by selling off properties as the market recovers.
“We also know that for every house that goes to court and is repossessed, another three are voluntarily surrendered,” added Deputy Calleary.
“This is a major issue facing the country. I am not scaremongering. From what we are seeing from the figures already going through the courts, this is only going to get worse.”
Deputy Calleary said the banks have too much say when it comes to deciding the outcome for struggling families who are tyring to work out a mortgage restructuring plan with their lenders.
The bank has a final veto on any such deal and Fianna Fáil wants to see this veto removed.
“Homeowners in Mayo need serious solutions and real relief from unsustainable debts, and if the banks remain unwilling to help bring this about it is incumbent upon the Government to strip the banks of their veto and rebalance the power in the relationship between borrowers and their lenders.”
Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne said he is meeting people on a daily basis who are being harrassed by banks and financial institutes.
“They are showing no mercy whatsoever,” said Cllr Kilcoyne. “There is a major crisis looming. People are going to have their homes repossessed and there won’t be anywhere for them to go.”
Cllr Kilcoyne pointed to the headline grabbing story this week of the heavily indebted solicitor Brian O’Donnell, who barricaded himself into his luxurious Killiney home to stop the repossession of the property.
“That is an exceptional case. It is no story compared to the very real stories of human heartache I am seeing,” said Cllr Kilcoyne. “Real people are experiencing terrible, painful, suffering and they are afraid to talk about it, ashamed to talk about it, even though it is not their fault.”
He called on the Department of Finance and the Department of Social Protection to work together to introduce measures to protect people like this from losing their family homes.
“There should be a system put in place to allow families to maintain their home if they are paying whatever they can afford, whatever that is. Those figures could easily be independently verified,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.