Published in the Irish Mirror on tuesday 31st January 2017
Emergency Resolution on Trump Ban proposed in EU Parliament – Hayes
Fine Gael MEP for Dublin Brian Hayes has today (Monday) signed a European Parliament motion condemning the Muslim ban imposed by President Trump. The European Parliament will meet in Brussels this week where MEPs intend to table an emergency motion.
“I am completely opposed to the actions of President Trump. Imposing a ban based on a person’s race, religion or nationality is discrimatory. This ban will only serve to create further problems. The ban is not part of the solution in attempting to defeat terrorism. EU Member States must stand together on this issue.”
The scam of property mis-selling has to be confronted by EU consumer protection
Fine Gael Dublin MEP Brian Hayes today called on the EU Commission to bring forward binding EU Consumer protection in the area of property transactions.
“While we have EU consumer law in the area of financial services or for airline passengers, it’s bizarre that literally no protection is offered to people who buy homes on false pretences. We either have a single market or we don’t – but the crime of mis-selling or false advertising on property needs to be included in basic EU consumer protection law,” he said.
“This follows the case of 35 Irish property owners who have lost significantly from properties purchased in France. There are many other horrendous cases all across the EU, but what’s unique about this is that the Irish group concerned is taking its case to the French Courts, or possibly to the European Court of Justice if they do not get redress.
“French leaseback properties were sold on the basis of false and misleading information. From French banks to local property agents to Irish national newspapers – people were GUARANTEED a rental income in every advertisement concerning the sale of the properties. Not only has the rental income not transpired, but the value of the properties has plummeted. The matter will now come before the French Courts in the coming months.
“The operating costs of these developments were significantly under-estimated, which allowed the viability of these resorts to be misrepresented to purchasers at the point of sale. As happened in Ireland before the property crash, the builders and the property management companies involved all went into receivership as owners were left with little or no rent to pay the associated mortgages. These operators have re-emerged in different parts of France, starting the process all over again with the next group of unwitting investors.
“Contrary to initial advice and information provided at the point of purchase, purchasers are now also tied into commercial leases that go on forever unless “eviction compensation” is paid to the lessees – this information was never included in the original lease.
“Because the property prices have more than halved, French banks can potentially seek a repossession and consequently put family homes at risk in Ireland, as all finance was arranged with French banks who were tied into the original sale.
“I have written to the French Banking Federation to get their response to the French banks’ involvements in providing mortgages to these schemes without any property valuation assessment involved. I am also in discussion with the Consumer & Marketing Law unit in the European Commission to see what, if any, proposals they might make on the issue of mis-selling or mis-leading information leading to property sales.
“This case highlights the need for a European response to protecting people who purchase property abroad. Too many people across the EU have been burnt by the complete lack of protection. This has to change.”
We should follow France and get on board with green bonds – Hayes
Brian Hayes MEP said today that the government should follow in the footsteps of Poland and France to issue sovereign green bonds and become the third country in the world to do so.
“Earlier this month France became the second country in the world after Poland to issue sovereign green bonds in a clear signal that their government is committed to diverting funds towards ecological or renewable projects.
“The green bond market is in early stages of development but there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s going to become a rapidly growing market in the coming years. The Paris Climate agreement means that all governments need to do their part to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
“Ireland is in a difficult situation, we are signed up to the Paris agreement but we are off our emissions targets. The time is ripe for the government to proactively engage in climate friendly initiatives like green bonds. We should get ahead of the curve and start to put our national weight behind green finance. It is going to become a major investment stream into the future.
“The issuance of green bonds will send a strong political signal to the markets and EU partners that environmental issues are becoming a national priority for Ireland. It will also help to finance renewable infrastructure projects such as wind farms and biomass projects.
“This isn’t just a big country initiative, Luxembourg has imminent plans to issue green bonds. Nigeria is also preparing its own sovereign green bond issuance.
“While Ireland has unique difficulties in meeting EU emission reduction targets, frankly I don’t believe we have pursued climate-friendly efforts seriously enough. Following the Paris agreement, we now have a clear global responsibility to do our part.
“There are two concrete initiatives we can pursue straightaway. Firstly, the Department of Finance in conjunction with the NTMA should ensure that we issue Ireland’s first green bonds before the end of 2017. Secondly, we should be able to put a clear date on the phase out of Moneypoint, Ireland’s only coal-fired power station, which is running at high capacity and provides about 21.5% of our electricity needs.”
Published in the Irish Times 26th January 2017