‘A Sick Joke’


Edmund Honohan

RTE reports:

Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan has described as “a sick joke” a letter sent from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to a man seeking to avoid repossession of his home to contact mortgage arrears adviser Abhaile.

Mr Honohan said he has people in his court, on a daily basis, who are struggling to hold off repossession, and he had asked them to contact the Taoiseach to see where they could find mortgage-to-rent as a solution.

Mr Honohan said Abhaile is of no use to these people because it is “merely a voucher for €250 worth of legal advice” before you go to the Circuit Court.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he asked why the Taoiseach’s office is so misinformed that it is unable to formulate a reasonable policy to cope with the wave of repossessions that is about to break.

…Mr Honohan has written a new bill that would give greater powers to the State’s financial and legal support services and stronger protections to people who are in mortgage arrears.

However, he said no political party had indicated support for his bill and that this “is a cross party effort”.

He said he was “using the good offices of John McGuinness (Fianna Fail TD) to lodge it”.

Taoiseach’s letter to homeowner described as ‘sick joke’ by Master of High Court (RTE)


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dail earlier today

Earlier today.

Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan raised Mr Honohan’s interview with Morning Ireland – and his bill in the Dail – prompting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to say…

I haven’t seen that legislation Ceann Comhairle. I don’t think anyone has yet, actually. Certainly, I’m not aware of it being published but, certainly, when it is published, we’ll give it full consideration.

“As we will with any legislation that’s put forward in good faith to see, first of all, is it constitutional, secondly, would it be effective and third, would there be any adverse unintended consequences.

“But certainly, once the legislation is available, the Government will examine it.”

62 thoughts on “‘A Sick Joke’

      1. b

        work that out for yourself, you clearly have strong data driven views on here so i don’t want to interfere with that

  1. Cian

    Why is the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, asking people to contact the Taoiseach to see where they could find mortgage-to-rent as a solution?

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Pity he didn’t do it when FF started all this off, but he’s not likely to pooh on his own doorstep.

      This has nothing to do with him wanting to help downtrodden mortgage holders. This is about a Fianna Failure attempting to get one over on the Blueshirts.

  2. Rob_G

    Well, I for one can’t see anything that could possibly go wrong with the Taoiseach being asked to intercede personally in cases before the courts…

    1. ahjayzis

      He was asked for directions to the scheme his government has introduced to keep mortgage holders in their homes as tenants of the creditor.

      Instead he fobbed them off with a voucher for about 12 seconds of a barristers time.

      1. Rob_G

        If I read the article correctly: Honohan seems to be asking homeowners to write to the office of an Taoiseach to enquire about a piece of legislation that doesn’t actually exist yet, but rather has been proposed by Honohan himself.

        Proposing legislation is not typically within the remit of a court official; in fact, most people would think that the separation between the legislative and the judicial functions of the state is a very necessary thing.

  3. Andrew

    Mr.Honohan is straying beyond his role here.
    He could not answer the basic question. ‘How many repossession orders have been granted?’
    I’d have expected him to have that number to hand if he is so upset about it.The inconvenient truth is that the repossession rate is minsiscule.
    Mr. Honohan is not ‘elected’ representative either. John McGuinness, of course is, so why he is not fronting this latest exercise in grandstanding and distortion is strange. His party are to all intents and purposes in government and are responsible for our shambolic property bubble in the first place.

    1. anne

      Jaazus yer out in force on this.

      Miniscule like the homeless numbers that are “acceptable” according to Veruka.

    2. ahjayzis

      Oh no, a public a servant “straying beyond his role” in a matter of public interest? We can’t have that!

      You must be gutted the state is no longer trying to persecute Sergeant McCabe into an early grave for committing the same crime of stepping out of line.

      1. Andrew

        That’s quite a leap, re Gerry McCabe. Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they are wrong. You then pigeonhole people and ascribe beliefs and opinions they may or may not have. I happen to be fully supportive of Gerry McCabe and think what happened to him is a disgrace, but this is a complete diversion to the matter at hand, but well done.
        I’ll tell you what, you engage in your outrage and distortion, but this latest jaunt by Mr.Honohan is utterly meaningless and is crossing the line between the legislative processes and the judiciary. If you’re ok with that, I’d suggest you don’t know what you are talking about and haven’t really thought about any of this at all.

        1. ahjayzis

          Oh stop the whinging and histrionics, pet.

          You either support public servants having the freedom to speak out or you don’t.
          The MotHC is not a member of the judiciary.

          1. Andrew

            They are judicial office holders. Unelected.
            Whinging and histrionics?
            Right so. You’re the calm reasonable one then?

      1. Andrew

        I assume you’re addressing me Rowsdower?
        Mr. Honohan WAS asked that question on Morning Ireland.
        Upset is a strong word.

    1. Ronan

      I’m supportive of deals with vulture funds. Get the can’t pay brigade off the balance sheet and get the banks out of public ownership.

      Let the vulture funds offer jingle mail or walk the repo plank. It’s time to be adult about this and stop favouring those who once qualified for a mortgage over those who never will.

      Sell NPLs. Sell bank shares. Build public housing. Stop tinkering around the edges. Make repossessions a reality and encourage competition in banking

      1. Nigel

        The system is clearly not working very well so yes new unregulated unaccountable multinational financial players with no concerns whatsoever about the best interests of Irish society is just the thing to sort it out.

        1. Kolmo

          The Irish Government is nothing but a lowest bidder outsourcing agency to solve the icky problem of trying to govern an actually country, and a society, with real people.

      2. david

        Take all vacant property off the banks to the value of what they owe the taxpayer and these mortgagee then use it all for social housing retained by the state

  4. phil

    FG will not introduce legislation that will ‘interfere with the market’ ,full stop.

    I dont understand how people dont get that ….

      1. phil

        Im not defending those dullards in FG, Im just saying thats how they think, and yes you are right , but they saw that as ‘Saving the market’

  5. Anomanomanom

    The problem seems to be the repossession of homes never ever gets talked about with peoples emotions getting involved. Is it stupid to evict someone paying their mortgage, of course it is so it doesn’t happen. Is it stupid/right to evict someone slightly behind but actually paying the vast amount and will eventually pay all of it, of course it is and that’s why most bank will deal with these people. The real problem then is people who have no chance of paying and haven’t met payments in a few years, there are thousands of these mortgages, if their evicted they become homeless but if you let them live effectively rent free why would they ever try pay

  6. Anne

    I’ll just leave this here –


    I realise he was being a bit over the top, but the notion that Nama is the modern-day equivalent of a 17th-century middleman who is trading assets isn’t too far removed from reality.

    In the past eight years, huge tracts of Ireland have been sold by Nama at deep discounts to vulture funds. This went on under the radar, in effect transferring enormous wealth out of Ireland to foreigners. Maybe it wasn’t the Cromwellian plantations, but it is hard to think of another country whose own government sanctioned such a fire sale of national assets.

    Remember Nama – an agent of the state – was supposed to get credit going? Well, it is getting credit going all right – but it is foreign credit. We are middlemen in the global credit cycle. The vulture capitalists know this, but are too clever to admit it and the Irish political class are too stupid to realise it.

    This means they buy and hold for a maximum of three years and once they make 30 per cent, they are out. This is their twist. Now they are moving to get the most out of the assets before they sell.

    Deep inside the financial entrails are the loans of small and medium-sized businesses, the property loans of petrol station owners, publicans and undertakers. The vultures love this type of soft tissue.

    Thousands of small businesses are now under the control of vulture funds.

    The strategy of the funds is to buy as cheaply as possible and sweat the asset until the yield on the property rises. Once the yield or the income of the property rises, they can re-rate the price of the property upwards. In finance, this is almost formulaic.

    But in reality it is far from a formula.

    Re-rating the property value upwards at a time of low inflation will involve putting up rents, squeezing the owners – who are pretty much bust and may have one business (a pub, say) which is throwing off just enough cash to pay the interest on the property. Now the vultures are using the Irish courts to come after the other assets of the unfortunate owners. So if the ‘loan’ for a house was secured against a pub, for example, both the pub and the house are now being claimed by the vultures.

    1. Anomanomanom

      The problem is Anne, we only seem to elect idiots but who are college smarts ie a qualified teacher or doctor but who never actually done a hard days work in the real world or we elect people who are just there to serve them self.

  7. Murtles

    Do nothing is the default status of the last number of Governments FF or FG. Don’t rock the boat and keep the gravy train rolling. Finance Ministers that won’t intervene in financial dealings of banks, Transport Ministers that won’t interfere in transports strikes, Justice Ministers that won’t interfere with lenient court sentences etc. The Government who are meant to be the creators of legislation (as part of the Oireachtas) to better Irish people lives just sit back and do nothing.

    1. david

      It is clear the policy of fine Gael was it get property out of negative equity
      All measures so far are to increase property values by ensuring affordable property is not built
      The problem and fly in the ointment is property is inflated and another generation will be debt slaves for life
      With brexit looming and interest rates due to go up is sowing seeds for a massive property crash
      The bust gave us an opportunity to correct the property market but sadly we did not

  8. david

    Nothing new here
    When will people get it
    Varadka has no understanding of the working class or poor
    His whole up bringing would give him no clue about the battle the least fortunate have every day
    The gas thing is he is the first to slags off trump for his changers but maybe he needs to look himself in the mirror and remember he has achieved absolutely nothing in any ministerial post
    He is clearly a puppet and god help us in brexit and the spectre of the good Friday agreement

    1. Andrew

      Tell us about the working class and the ‘poor’ and the least fortunate david.
      What doesn’t he understand as compared to you, who obviously does understand.
      Who should people vote for david? Can you recommend a party?

      1. david

        Sure if I have to tell you you are either blind or so wrapped up in your cocoon it will go above your head
        As for voting its a personal thing
        Think for yourself and do not be a sheep
        Just listen to varadka he is clueless and he really is out of touch with the vast majority of people struggling
        A society is judged on that not on its movers and shakers
        He is a KAPO

        1. Andrew

          but david you said he doesn’t understand. What doesn’t he understand?
          For example, what policies would you pursue if you were in charge?

          1. david

            For one immediately all mortgagee on vacant property would be transferred to the state in exchange for the money pumped into them valued at the bust price at the time of the crash and retained as social housing and a 25%tax brought in on the transfer of any mortgagee from bank to bank
            Also an investigation into the retrospective sales of all property disposed of after the boom

  9. takeithard

    Pay your bills and you wont get kicked out of your home, or look for accommodation you can afford. simple

  10. david

    Not as simple take it hard
    What happens if you rent and the landlord decides to sell and you are evicted or lost your job
    Maybe if interest rates shoot up like they did in the 1980s then what then if you cannot afford your mortgagee
    We seem to be now a very selfish cold country with no feelings for less fortunate types
    Walk in their shoes for maybe you might one day be in that position

  11. david

    Who wants the term bank holiday removed and replaced with just public holiday
    I find it disgusting we honour banks with this status

  12. :-Joe

    Of all the things you can call out Der Leoder for… and there are many…. being democratically elected by public vote at the ballot isn’t one of them.


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