Brian Hayes MEP

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Monthly Archives: April 2016

The cost of using your mobile phone in other EU countries will cost less from this weekend – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Saturday) said the cost of using your mobile phone in other EU countries is significantly less from this weekend. The reduction is part of new legislation introduced by the EU which will see roaming charges abolished from June 2017.

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“From today the cost of using your mobile phone in another EU country will be significantly less. Costs will now be capped at domestic rates plus a maximum of 5 cent per call, 2 cent per text and 2 cent for MB of data.”

“The reduction comes into force following agreement reached last year which will see roaming charges in the EU abolished from the 15th June 2017. Roaming charges has been a big issue for many years, costing EU citizens €1.6 billion each year. EU citizens have been faced with excessive mobile phone charges for too long. The new reduction is very much welcomed.”

Hayes welcomes €76 million funding announcement for DCU

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Friday) welcomed the announcement that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide a €76 million loan to Dublin City University. The loan is part of a €230 million investment in the University to develop its facilities.

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“This is an example of how the European Union Bank can be used be to invest in people, education and create jobs. The funds provided will help the University to redevelop the former All Hallows College as well as increase the capacity of the University. It is a major investment for Dublin’s Northside.”

“Ireland has received significant amounts of funding from the EIB in recent years. In 2014 over €932 million was received – an increase of 37% on previous years. Last year over €150 million was invested by the bank in social housing projects. EIB funding has also been used for projects in Trinity College and Dublin Port.”

“EIB funding is a good way of advancing projects and will further strengthen the economy and deliver more jobs.”

Brian Hayes MEP speaks on the EIB report in Parliament

Brian Hayes MEP speaks in the European Parliament about the EIB’s activities in terms of driving the jobs, growth and investment strategy of the EU. In Ireland since the crisis we have seen a major improvement in terms of EIB funding for projects such as the  Luas connection.

Brian Hayes MEP discusses Variable Mortgage Rates and ways to make them more affordable

I have continuously argued that the European Commission should bring in rules that make it easier for mortgage holders to switch mortgages on a cross-border basis. We are in a single market. We have a European Central Bank which sets the main interest rate for banks. There is no reason why a mortgage holder in Ireland should not be able to switch their mortgage to avail of a lower rate.

We need to look at what the Italians have done on switching. By shopping around and making it easier to switch – it will bring better rates for mortgage holders and more competition. Switching should be a consumer right.

Soccer fans should apply now to get free European Health Insurance Card before travelling to Euro ’16 – Hayes

MEP for Dublin, Brian Hayes, today reminded Irish soccer fans to get their FREE European Health Insurance Card in time to support the boys in green in France this summer. Mr. Hayes made the call with just 7 weeks to Ireland’s opening group match with Sweden. He asked traveling fans to apply now to make sure they get their card in time.

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“We have never qualified for a European Championship so close to home before. Our team will be one of the best supported in France this summer because of the many direct ferry and flight connections. With thousands of fans planning to travel, it’s possible that some accidents and emergencies will happen. Medical treatment can be very expensive abroad. That’s why I’m asking traveling fans to get their free European Health Insurance Cards now. It’s their entitlement under EU law.”

“As an Irish residents we are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in France if we become ill or injured while on a temporary stay. But you must have a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC (formerly known as the E111) to access health care services. One card is needed for each individual or member of the family and it’s free to apply and receive the card. If fans have an accident or become ill all they have to do is go to the nearest public system doctor, public hospital, or other public treatment centre and present the card.

 “It couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do to get your card is fill in your name, address, date of birth and PPS online on a HSE website (https://www.sspcrs.ie/portal/ehic/welcome.do). Once you have these basic details your card will be posted out to you free of charge. If you have a smartphone you can also download the free EHIC App, to help you contact health services in France should fans need them.”

 “As fans get ready to travel to France to support the boys in green, now is the time to apply for the free European Health Insurance Card. A few minutes online can save a lot of money, if fans have an accident or become ill in France.”

Italy leads the way for switching mortgages – Hayes

We need to bring in standalone legislation to establish a simple switching procedure

Brian Hayes MEP today said that the next government should follow Italy’s example to encourage mortgage holders to switch providers to avail of lower interest rates. Mr. Hayes says that it’s time to bring in standalone legislation to establish a simple mortgage switching procedure.

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“One important way that we can get variable mortgage rates to come down is by making it easier for mortgage holders to switch providers. This will instil competition into the market and force banks to lower rates to more competitive levels.

“The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has recently published a survey which showed that only one in seven mortgage holders have thought about switching. And only 2% of mortgage holders have actually switched in the last five years.

“If we look at Italy, they have brought in a specific switching mechanism which makes it easy for consumers to switch mortgage loans. This is a practice that the major Italian banks have to comply with and is a no cost procedure for the borrower.

“It works as follows:

  • When switching, the new capital borrowed must be the same amount that is outstanding on the mortgage.
  • The borrower can change the type of interest rate – fixed or variable – and the length of the mortgage term.
  • The two banks (old and new) are involved in the process and have to share information.
  • There is no cost for the borrower in this procedure – no switching fees, no valuation fees, no insurance fees, no tax and no notary cost.
  • The switching procedure should take place within 30 days from when the borrower makes the request to the new provider.

“This is all written into Italian legislation. And in 2015, 32% of new mortgages in Italy were generated through consumers switching to another provider.

“I believe the Dáil and the next government need to take example from Italy by introducing standalone legislation to set up a specific switching mechanism. The idea should be to put in place procedures that ensure it is cost-effective and simple to switch mortgage providers. Switching should be a consumer right.

“We essentially have 5 main banks offering similar interest rates for mortgages. There is a complete lack of competition in the market. But if we had switching rates anywhere near Italy, mortgage rates would be much lower in Ireland.

“People are still being ripped off by banks charging very high variable mortgage rates. The rates have come down by a small degree in the past year but Irish mortgage holders are still being overcharged compared to our Eurozone neighbours. The average variable mortgage rate in the Eurozone is almost 2 per cent lower than Ireland.

“I have continuously been arguing the European Commission to bring in rules that make it easier for mortgage holders to switch mortgages on a cross-border basis. We are in a single market; we have a European Central Bank which sets the main interest rate for banks so there is no reason why a mortgage holder in Ireland should not be able to switch their mortgage to a provider in Germany or France to avail of a lower rate.”

EP Brussels Visit April 2016

It was great to welcome this large group of Dubliners to the European Parliament on Friday April 22nd 2016.

Brussels Tour 2016 Cropped