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Thousands of homes targeted for seizure by banks


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BANKS have initiated legal action to repossess thousands of houses and apartments, it has emerged.

This is despite a loophole in the law blocking repossessions.

A new report estimates that lenders have issued legal proceedings to take properties off up to 44,000 borrowers.

These are made up of residential and buy-to-let properties, according to calculations contained in a new report by Davy Stockbrokers.

An analysis estimates that what it calls non-cooperative borrowers number between 23,700 and 43,700.

FEARS

Letters threatening legal action have been sent to these borrowers.

And there are fears that large numbers of properties, particularly buy-to-lets, will be repossessed.

Legal action to repossess properties has been taken by both AIB and Bank of Ireland in around one in five of arrears cases, according to the report by Davy‘s Conail Mac Coille.

Ulster Bank said that up to a third of its property owners in arrears were making no payments at all. The bank said it would not hesitate to repossess in these cases.

Strong demand for family-type homes and the presence in the market of large numbers of cash buyers mean that a flood of newly repossessed properties can be absorbed.

A number of banks were also likely to keep repossessed properties on their books, take the rental income and slowly release them on the market, Mr Mac Coille wrote. Changes in the law to restore the right of lenders to repossess properties have been passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas and are expected to become law soon.

Davy reckons that arrears will keep rising this year, with large numbers of homeowners struggling to repay largely due to income decreases rather than job losses.

Two-thirds of those in arrears are in a job, according to comments by Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan.

For large numbers of borrowers in trouble the mortgage repayments are so high they represent more than half of their income, Davy reported, citing unpublished Central Bank studies.

A separate MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) report found that distressed borrowers had just €777 a month left, after paying for utilities, food and childcare. But the mortgage was around €500 a month.

SPLIT

Banks will have to write down up to €11.5bn of mortgage debt. Most of this will be in the form of split mortgages where part of the mortgage owed is put to one side, and in most cases will probably have to be written off at the end of the mortgage term.

But one-third of borrowers are in such a bad financial position that a debt writedown will not work. These are mainly buy-to-let investors.

Half of investor mortgages are paying interest only. Despite this, almost 30,000 out of 150,000 buy-to-let mortgages are in arrears.

Irish Independent

via Thousands of homes targeted for seizure by banks – Independent.ie.

Revenue judgement: Only efficient when dealing with the peasants


Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily has left citizens in no doubt whatsoever about how her organisation will deal with anybody who is tempted to dodge the upcoming property tax.

Revenue will ruthlessly bring to bear the full arsenal of laws at its disposal to enforce the new tax.

If necessary Revenue will deduct the tax directly from the salary, pension or bank accounts of those who fail to co-operate.

People can only judge for themselves Revenue’s record for pursuing people…We have very extensive data. We will pursue. We’ve done it in the past.

Well I’d like to accept Ms. Feehily’s invitation and judge her organisation’s record of pursuing people.

A report in last Sunday’s Independent reveals that not one person has been prosecuted over the Ansbacher tax criminality.

Ms. Feehily extends three excuses for her organisation’s disgraceful failure in bringing the Ansbacher white-collar criminals to account.

Excuse one: A lack of original documentation.

An essential requirement for a successful criminal prosecution is original documents. There were very few original documents available and there was no legal mechanism to compel Caymen entities to produce such documents.

This excuse is, of course, bullshit. There is a mountain of good quality evidence available to Revenue if it had a mind to prosecute.

The reason this good quality evidence has never been used is simple – it would most likely result in damaging the interests of very influential and powerful people.

Excuse two: Time elapsed has made prosecutions impossible.

Ms. Feehily:

While many cases passed the serious evasion test to be considered for prosecution, the time elapsed – typically in excess of 10 years since the alleged offence occurred – meant it would not be possible to mount a successful prosecution.

Ms. Feehily’s admission that many cases passed the serious evasion test for prosecution directly contradicts her first excuse re original documents.

The ‘time lapsed’ excuse is the most powerful strategy employed by state agencies when it comes to protecting influential and powerful people.

It is no accident, in my opinion, that almost every major white-collar scandal is strung out over many years in order to benefit from the ‘time lapse’ excuse.

Excuse three: Some of the criminals were too old or too dead.

Being too old will not be accepted as an excuse by Revenue for failing to pay the property tax. This excuse is strictly reserved for influential and powerful people.

Neither will death be accepted as an excuse. If an ordinary citizen undervalues his property and the property is sold on after his death the tax due, with interest, will be extracted from the new owners.

Influential and powerful people are exempt from such exacting laws. For example, when the criminal politician Haughey died his wealth was passed on to his family with no response from Revenue.

In functional democracies such ill-gotten wealth is heavily taxed or even seized outright.

Returning to Ms. Feehily’s invitation to people to judge Revenue’s record of pursuing people I think the following sums up what most ordinary people think.

The very fact that so called law enforcement agencies like Revenue and the Financial Regulator are incapable or unwilling to enforce the law when dealing with white-collar crime but are more than efficient in enforcing the law against ordinary citizens suggests that there is indeed one law for the rich and another for the peasants.

Copy to:

Revenue

via Public Inquiry · Examining corruption in Ireland.

via Public Inquiry · Examining corruption in Ireland.

Atheist Ireland asks that civil registration Bill be referred


Atheist Ireland has written to President Michael D Higgins asking that he send the Civil Registration Amendment Bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality on the grounds that it discriminates against non-believers.

The group has also written to the Irish Human Rights Commission asking that the Bill be examined from a human rights perspective.

In a statement yesterday, Atheist Ireland said: “We welcome the intention of this Bill to make our law more inclusive.

“However, in practice the Bill accepts and further institutionalises discrimination on the ground of religion or belief.”

The Bill “continues the discrimination in the Act that it is amending, which is discrimination in favour of religious people and against nonreligious people, and it adds new discrimination, this time between non-religious people who have different philosophical and non-confessional beliefs,” the statement added.

“However the law regulates how people can legally solemnise marriages, the law should treat all religious and nonreligious people and bodies equally, and should not discriminate on the ground of religion or belief,” it said.

via Atheist Ireland asks that civil registration Bill be referred – The Irish Times – Sat, Dec 22, 2012.

via Atheist Ireland asks that civil registration Bill be referred – The Irish Times – Sat, Dec 22, 2012.

Reilly is Breaking the Law


Breaking the Law Is Criminal

Minister for Health James Reilly is breaking the law and rejecting international human rights principles by failing to remove an upper age limit for an allowance to people with disabilities, according to a report by Ombudsperson Emily O’Reilly.

REILLY THE CRIMINAL

Minister for Health James Reilly is breaking the law and rejecting international human rights principles, by failing to remove an upper age limit for an allowance to people with disabilities, according to a report by Ombudsperson Emily O’Reilly.

She says it, “raises fundamental questions about the strength of our commitment to international human rights norms.

The continued failure of the department to tackle this issue, suggests it has a very weak sense of the importance of supporting human rights principles and indeed, a very weak sense of the rule of law and of its obligation to act in accordance with the law.’

Ms O’Reilly further said, “I have sympathy for the Government and the rest of us who are about to come under the cosh with €3.5 billion reduction in terms of the money that can be spent on public services but I think it is simply unacceptable for the State to act outside the law. 

I think basically they are trying to string this out. They have to remove the cap.” 

Ms O’Reilly also said, that when the scheme was originally introduced in 1979 the upper age limit was legal, however when the Equal Status Act became legislation in 2000, the State could no longer discriminate on grounds of age.The report also says the O’Reilly’s department, has been operating a scheme for the past 12 years, on the basis of a condition that was illegal and that it has known to be illegal for the past four years. Despite having agreed last year to remove the upper age limit from the scheme, it failed to do so. As a consequence, it has knowingly allowed the scheme to continue in operation on the basis of an illegality.

via Reilly is Breaking the Law – Indymedia Ireland.

via Reilly is Breaking the Law – Indymedia Ireland.

Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters


With less than one week before we find out how voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington will decide on ballot measures to regulate marijuana like alcohol, polls indicate there’s a very good chance at least one of these states will make history by enacting the world’s first-ever marijuana legalization law.

While the movement to reform marijuana laws has been steadily picking up steam in recent years, with rising national polling support and a growing number of states allowing for the medical use of marijuana, having the voters of a state opt to legalize and tax marijuana for adult use would propel the issue to the forefront of the mainstream political scene like never before.

The three legalization initiatives on state ballots are not only drawing support from a large number of voters, but are garnering endorsements from newspaper editorial boards, civic groups, civil rights leaders, celebrities and even some members of law enforcement.

But guess who else is speaking out in support of changing marijuana laws? Check out the slideshow below for a top 10 list of the most unexpected allies in the fight against marijuana prohibition.

These quotes are sourced from the new website http://www.MarijuanaMajority.com, which compiles quotes and videos from prominent people across the political spectrum who support reforming marijuana laws.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

Children’s Referendum: New article gives State stronger intervention powers – National News – Independent.ie


THE Government has published the wording of the children’s rights referendum.

The vote on the proposed new article 42A of the Constitution, which would be the 31st amendment, will be on Saturday November 10.

Here is the wording of the proposed reform:

1. The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.

2.1 In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.

2.2 Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.

3. Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.

4.1. Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings –

i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or

ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

4.2. Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1 of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.

via Children’s Referendum: New article gives State stronger intervention powers – National News – Independent.ie.

via Children’s Referendum: New article gives State stronger intervention powers – National News – Independent.ie.

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