Sinn Féin spokesman for finance, Pearse Doherty TD, responded to today’s statistical publication on the Central Bank’s retail interest rates, asking banks to lower interest rates for Irish borrowers, who now suffer from highest EU mortgage interest rates.
He also said the statement, which shows that the average interest rate on mortgages in November was more than twice the EU average, underlined the threat posed by Ulster Bank’s withdrawal from the Irish market.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Today’s Central Bank launch shows that the average mortgage interest rate for Irish borrowers in November, at 2.79 percent, is the highest in Europe and more than double the EU average.
“This causes Irish borrowers to pay thousands more in interest per year than the average European borrower.
“In September, I asked creditors to accompany the new Spanish entrant and financier, Avant Money, by cutting their interest rates after offering fixed and variable rates below the current average offered by Irish banks.
“The fact that Avant Money is able to offer lower interest rates is proof that these high interest rates can be reduced.
“Today’s Central Bank statement also highlights the serious threat posed by Ulster Bank’s departure from the Irish market.
“As the Vice Governor confirmed to me in written correspondence on December 2, Ulster Bank’s withdrawal may lead to higher interest rates and weaker credit availability.
“Considering that mortgage interest rates are already the highest in the EU, the threat this poses to borrowers cannot be overstated.
“The Minister of Finance should make Ulster Bank’s future a priority in the coming months.”