Offers flood in after family’s appeal over repossession

THE mother of a special needs boy whose family face having their home repossessed has revealed how a number of good Samaritans have offered to help after the family’s case was highlighted in the national media.

The High Court this week ordered the repossession of the Waterford family’s home despite an offer by the parents to repay the lender in question €800 a month.

The family’s distressing story — which was first highlighted by the Irish Examiner — saw the family’s plight being raised in the Dáil yesterday.

The Waterford woman, who did not want to be named, said she and her husband had tried desperately to contact their lender, Stepstone Mortgage Funding, when they ran into financial difficulties after being both let go from Waterford Crystal.

“I did ring their number on numerous occasions to ask them could we hold onto it but they weren’t going to play ball.

“They just said we had been informed by letter and that we had to leave. I tried everything I possibly could with Stepstone.”

Attempts to consolidate the €40,000 that had built up in arrears with their €277,000 mortgage were also denied by Stepstone, she said.

“When they blocked me getting HSE mortgage relief I knew this was the end for us. At all stages my first and foremost priority was the wellbeing of my special needs child,” she added.

After the young mother courageously revealed on the radio station Newstalk 106 how her family were left traumatised by the repossession, the station received a number of pledges of help from housing agencies and other good Samaritans.

Green Party senator Dan Boyle promised the Waterford family’s case would be addressed at cabinet level and said the subprime lender, Stepstone, had behaved “appallingly”.

He went on: “It does show that there seems to be a lack of clarity and maybe legislative strength as to how they’re controlled.”

Labour’s Ciarán Lynch raised the family’s case before the Taoiseach and Finance Minister in the Dáil, saying subprime lenders were “screwing people to the wall”.

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry called for legislation to stall court cases where a house was a family home.

Meanwhile, a number of housing support groups including Respond and Focus Ireland have moved to provide help for the struggling Waterford family.

A spokesman for Stepstone, in a statement, said: “We do all that we can to assist borrowers when they find themselves in financial difficulty.”

He said: “Repossession will always be a last resort.”


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