Deputy Anthony Lawlor: I propose to share time with Deputy Heather Humphreys. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on the mortgage crisis. It is unbelievable that the motion is tabled by the party that caused the mortgage crisis, Fianna Fáil. Between 2000 and 2007, where was Fianna Fáil? It was partying. Between 2008 and 2012, where was Fianna Fáil? Its head was buried in the sand. Since 2013, it has pulled its head out of the sand and come forward with what it believes to be brilliant ideas. Where were these ideas for that long period of time?
In 2006, Fianna Fáil allowed 93,000 houses to be built and in 2007 it allowed 78,000 houses to be built. Where was Fianna Fáil? Partying. It allowed packages to be proposed by banks, such as 100% mortgages and life loans for the elderly to get money from their properties. Where was Fianna Fáil? Partying. The economy was based on construction because Fianna Fáil was partying with the builders, developers and bankers.
The signs started to appear in 2006 and 2007. Fianna Fáil allowed arrears to increase from 2007 to when it left office in 2011. Where was Fianna Fáil? Its head was buried in the sand. It allowed unemployment to increase through that period. Where was Fianna Fáil? Its head was buried in the sand. There is correlation between unemployment and arrears. Fianna Fáil never spotted this because it started to happen in 2006. This is shown in a 2011 report showing that, between 2006 and 2007, arrears starts to increase and unemployment started to increase. There was no conception that the correlation might lead to what we have now. Where was Fianna Fáil? Its head was buried in the sand.
In our first budget, we introduced an extension of mortgage interest relief and took on board many of the suggestions in the Keane report. We also introduced the Personal Insolvency Act. I thank Fianna Fáil for introducing this motion so that Members on this side can let people know who is responsible for the crisis. I welcome back to Fianna Fáil Members. It is nice to see some colour in their faces because they have eventually pulled their heads out of the sand.