Fianna Fáil election manifesto will include commitment to protect variable rate mortgage customers

The rates in Ireland are still substantially higher than the European average

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Michael McGrath. Image:

Fianna Fáil says it would bring in laws to protect variable rate mortgage customers if the party was in power.

The Opposition party says pressure should be put on banks to reduce their variable mortgage rates in line with ECB interest rates.

Fianna Fáil says the current government has not done enough to tackle the issue, which can cost some mortgage holders hundreds of euro each month.

They say that family with a €200,000 mortgage is currently paying approximately €4,000 a year more in interest than a comparable borrower in Northern Ireland and in other European countries.

The party's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath, has explained why the party wants to tackle the issue.

"The Central Bank’s proposed protection measures for variable rate mortgage holders published in November are totally inadequate as they focus on how banks would have to justify future rate increases", Deputy McGrath said.

"This is of no help whatsoever to existing mortgage holders who are already paying twice the rate being charged in other Eurozone countries". 

A standard variable rate mortgage loan is a mortgage where the interest rates vary depending on market conditions. Cash strapped Irish banks increased the rates as a way of bolstering their revenues.

The standard variable rate mortgage rates in Ireland are still substantially higher than the European average.

Earlier this year AIB announced a reduction of 0.25% in its variable mortgage interest rates for all owner occupier mortgages, and loans with EBS and Haven. A number of other financial institutions including Permanent TSB have also announced changes to rates this year.