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Ray's swap shop for hard-hit homeowners

Ray D'Arcy is doing his bit for those hit by recessionary woes this week by offering to help cash-strapped home owners do a house swap on his Today FM radio programme.

The popular morning presenter explained how the idea came about after he found himself inundated with calls, texts and emails offering advice to one frazzled listener who emailed to say she cannot sell her Dublin apartment due to its enormous decrease in value.

Ray explained how the lady in question bought an apartment with a friend at the height of the boom times, while her husband also bought a city centre apartment with a friend several years ago -- both of which are now in negative equity.

As a result, the couple are contemplating swapping both apartments for one house, in a bid to offer a more comfortable solution for them and their young family.

"It's amazing. As soon as I told her story on air we started getting a lot of calls in from people with suggestions for them," he explained.

"We actually got three real offers in from people who were willing to swap a property somewhere else with them, including one in Wexford.

"It's becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon and we're hoping we'll be able to help this woman solve her problem.

"The main delay we find is that people send in an email and might not include a contact number so we might have to wait until they've checked their email again before we can continue the contact," he added.

Last year, Ray and his colleagues on the daily show hit the headlines when they helped a nurse who became pregnant after a one-night stand track down the man in question, whom she met in Copper Face Jacks.

And the Kildare man is equally determined to find a solution to the above-mentioned female listener's dilemma.

Ray admits the touching letters and emails he receives about people's financial problems on the show each day can be heart-breaking, and says he often finds it hard to leave their problems at the office when he leaves work.

lnolan@herald.ie