Sunday 3rd May 2015
irish Junior Finance Minister says new plans to tackle mortgage arrears crisis will be announced within next two weeks
The Junior Finance Minister says the Government will announce new plans to tackle the mortgage arrears crisis within the next two weeks.
Simon Harris claims the measures will specifically target people in long-term arrears.
Currently a third of all those who’re behind on their payments are in mortgage arrears of 720 days or more.
The details of the plans have yet to be finalised. However on The Sunday Show today Junior Minister Harris said he wants to include an alternative to the banks’ veto on personal insolvency arrangements:
You can listen back to the full interview with Simon Harris below:
In the Spring Statement earlier this week, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said, “the Government is actively considering a range of options to strengthen the mortgage arrears framework in order to ensure that families in long term arrears can find a solution.
“The Government intends making an announcement on this issue in the coming weeks. A particular focus will be on enhancing the role of the Insolvency Service and the range of solutions that become available through an insolvency arrangement,” he added.
Over-hype of Irish Government’s ‘rhetoric’ not realistic for returning emigrants
Experts criticise the Irish Coalition of ‘rhetoric’
The Irish Government is overestimating how quickly Irish emigrants will return home and the boost they will bring to the economy, experts have now warned.
The Government is overestimating how quickly Irish emigrants will return home and the boost they will bring to the economy, experts have warned.
Specialists say an influx of emigrant couples, individuals and families over the next couple of years will put increasing pressure on the housing and rental market.
Previous homeward migration trends also suggest that returning emigrants will face many psychological challenges upon their return.
Dr Mary Gilmartin, who specialises in migration research at Maynooth University and is the author of a new book, Ireland and Migration in the 21st Century, said she is not seeing any pragmatic evidence that the Government is prepared for return migration.
She told the Sunday Independent: “I see rhetoric about wanting to get people to return, but I don’t see any evidence of any practical things that are directed towards making it easier for people to return.”
Dr Gilmartin says she believes emigrants will have difficulties accessing mortgages and other loans without a credit history. “I don’t think the rate of return will be as high as predicted and I don’t think the economic situation is as positive as Government suggestions indicate.”
Last week, as part of the Government’s Spring Statement, Finance Minister Michael Noonan pledged to lure tens of thousands of emigrants home with more favourable tax measures.
A spokeswoman from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the new proposals are “an important step” in returning to net inward migration by 2017. However, Dr Gilmartin argues a lot more must be done before emigrants living in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States book flights home.
“It’s a very patchy recovery. Some areas are doing well, but other areas are still struggling. The upheaval of moving a family is such that I can’t see people engaging in that kind of upheaval to move a family back again quite so quickly,” she said.
Dr David Ralph, assistant professor of sociology at Trinity College Dublin, warned many emigrants may be attracted back under false pretences. “They wouldn’t want to be luring people home with various false guns that there has been this sort of major upswing in the economy,” he said. “The reality can be quite different and I think people are more realistic about the slow nature of the recovery.”
Last month, as part of his St Patrick’s Day address, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said 2016 will be the year where the number of our people coming home “will be greater than the number of people who leave”.
However, Dr Ralph, who did extensive research on Irish returning from the US during the Celtic Tiger, contests this prediction. “Will there be a rush? I don’t think so, I don’t think the economy is necessarily buoyant enough to create the return seen during the boom years,” he said.
Dr Ralph also anticipates problems with welfare entitlements as access to certain social assistance payments, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, partly depends on length and purpose of any absence from Ireland.
He believes slower, organised return is more sustainable. “If we have a housing crisis in Dublin as it stands and up to 50,000 Irish people return, then we are going to have an even bigger housing crisis because they will move to urban areas,” he said, adding that part of the over-heating of the economy from 1996 to 2006 was due to the rush of return migrants.
“The rate of return migration during the boom further fuelled the property frenzy, so if it does happen, we need to keep an eye on the property market.”
Thousands of Ireland’s drivers wrongly identified as having failed to pay their car insurance
A close-up of the ANPR system in traffic corps vehicles.
Hundreds of thousands of drivers have been wrongly identified as having failed to pay their car insurance – forcing Gardaí to suspend the use of one of their key IT systems.
The computer network was acquired by the gardai for about €6m and is part of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition, or ANPR, system.
But database errors led to the incorrect designation of the drivers involved.
Difficulties were highlighted in a meeting between officials at the Departments of Transport and Justice and Gardai.
A handwritten note, which was recorded by a senior official in the Department of Transport, appears to blame motor insurance companies for failing to update the database properly.
It said that there was an issue “with insurance companies not notify [sic] of part payment of cover. Database had to be pulled – members not managing data properly. Getting 1.1 million hits for no insurance – this is not logical.”
It is unclear how many drivers were monitored by garda patrols as a result of the incorrect data information.
It is also not known for what length of time the database was suspended, or what was the financial cost of the error for the various parties involved.
Garda HQ replied to a series of questions submitted by RTÉ’s ‘This Week’ programme, which obtained the note.
“An Garda Siochana is aware of an issue in relation to certain insurance related data on the ANPR system. We are working with all the partner stakeholders to resolve the issue,” it said.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show there are about 2.4 million licensed vehicles in the State.
This meant the number of hits for non-payment of insurance on the garda IT system was almost half the entire number of vehicles on Irish roads.
Insurance industry studies suggest the number of uninsured vehicles is around 6pc of the total number, which would mean that around 900,000 of those hits for non-payment were false.
The body which represents motor insurers said it had no comment to make. ANPR systems are generally considered to be valuable enforcement tools when managed correctly.
Madeleine McCann breakthrough for police as ten break-ins at holiday apartments probed
The police investigation into the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann is gathering pace after the discovery of further information.
It was eight years ago today that Madeleine vanished from her holiday apartment in Portugal.
No trace of the toddler has ever been found, despite an intensive police hunt and campaign by her parents.
Detectives had previously been probing 18 burglaries at tourist apartments in Praia da Luz which matched the circumstances by which they believe Madeleine was taken.
These burglaries had seen the thief gain entry to the premises via a window.
However after intensive police investigation in the case, a further ten apartments have now been included in the investigation.
Forensic evidence from these apartments is now being compared to evidence from the apartment Madeleine was staying in.
The development was revealed in new book ‘Looking for Madeleine’.
Last week her parents won a libel payout against Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral.
He had been on trial over claims he made in a book that the couple were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.
Irish campaigners hold a march to legalise MARIJUANA
The National Organisation for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is holding a demonstration in Dublin this afternoon calling for the drug to be decriminalised.
The group said it would benefit to the Irish economy if cannabis were legalised and sold through reputable outlets.
The rally started in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square and is making its way towards Leinster House.
Director of NORML Ciarán Maher said: “The issue of cannabis in our society isn’t one that’s going to go away. It’s the third highest used drug in the country after alcohol and tobacco.
“Criminal gangs are making massive profits off this. For society as a whole it would be far better if it were taken away from the criminals and into the legitimate tax economy.”
The extinction of large Herbivores could lead to ‘Empty Landscapes’
New research shows the decline of some of the world’s largest herbivores like Rhino’s could lead to “empty landscapes” in our most diverse ecosystems.
New research shows the decline of some of the world’s largest herbivores could lead to “empty landscapes” in our most diverse ecosystems.
The recent analysis focused on 74 large herbivore species, especially those from Africa and Asia, Oregon State University reported.
“Without radical intervention, large herbivores (and many smaller ones) will continue to disappear from numerous regions with enormous ecological, social, and economic costs,” said William Ripple, Oregon State University distinguished professor in the College of Forestry. “I expected that habitat change would be the main factor causing the endangerment of large herbivores. But surprisingly, the results show that the two main factors in herbivore declines are hunting by humans and habitat change. They are twin threats.”
Kent H. Redford, then a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Florida, first used the term “empty forest,” which suggested that while fauna may appear plentiful, its loss imposed a long-term threat to ecosystems.
“Our analysis shows that it goes well beyond forest landscapes,” Ripple said, “to savannahs and grasslands and deserts. So we coin a new term, the empty landscape.”
The findings showed 25 of the largest wild herbivores now occupy only about 19 percent of their historical ranges. This is primarily due to competition from livestock production, which has tripled globally since 1980 and reduced the amount of accessible land. Hunting is also believed to play a significant role in the species’ decline.
“The market for medicinal uses can be very strong for some body parts, such as rhino horn,” Ripple said. “Horn sells for more by weight than gold, diamonds or cocaine.”
The effects of this devastating species decline is predicted to include a reduction in food sources for large carnivores, diminished seed dispersal for plants, more severe and frequent wildfires, slower soil nutrient cycling, and habitat changes for smaller animals.
“It is essential that local people be involved in and benefit from the management of protected areas,” the researchers wrote. “Local community participation in the management of protected areas is highly correlated with protected area policy compliance.”