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'It still doesn't go far enough to help people in distress ... '

MUM Jean Newport said that the proposals didn't go far enough to help mortgage holders like her who find themselves in severe negative equity.

Jean moved to Maynooth in 2005 to be closer to her son's school but when the recession hit, she found herself struggling with mortgage repayments which were seven-and-a-half times her salary.

She said that the recommendation to allow distressed mortgage holders to rent their homes back from local authorities was a small step in the wider issue.

"I think it must be very disheartening for someone who is going to have to hand over ownership of their houses and rent it back," she said. "At the same time it's important to reach some sort of agreement with your mortgage holder.



CRUX

"If all comes to all -- yes I would do this. You have to. You don't have a choice. To rent somewhere is just as expensive."

Jean, who works in accounts, said that her repayments spiralled towards the €2,000 mark every month at one stage.

And she said that the idea from the inter-departmental report about freezing the debt could be another way out for some people but didn't go far enough.

"Again it would help -- but it's still not getting away from the fact that our houses are worth so much less than they were at the time that we bought them.

"They are not talking about revaluing the houses -- that's sad. That's the crux.

"Our salaries were reduced but our mortgages weren't. We're still left with the burden."

Jean is now on the committee for the Defend Our Homes League and is actively working to raise awareness of those in negative equity.