Recession 'not over in Cork'

THE recession is 'absolutely not' over in Cork, according to MABS - the State’s Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

Margaret O'Neill, MABS Cork co-ordinator, says hundreds of home repossession cases are still being heard in Cork each week. 

So far this year 515 new clients have come to MABS for help.

She disagrees with Goodbody Stockbrokers' latest quarterly Irish Economy Health Check, which suggests Ireland has now fully recovered from the economic crash.

While she says other parts of Ireland may have recovered, people here are still struggling.

MABS - an organisation helps people dealing with problem debt - currently has 655 active clients on their books; last year they had a total of 1023 cases.

The Goodbody report also predicts the nation will return to full employment by the end of 2018.

However, Ms O'Neill said many people, as a result of the crash, are suffering from illness that is prohibiting them from returning to work.

"There's a lot of talk about change, and yes maybe in other parts of the country employment is better; maybe places like Dublin may have seen significant change, but in Cork we haven't seen a substantial change at all.

“We have a mortgage service whereby we support people who are in very late stage mortgage arrears - those figures are very high.

"At the moment 465 of our clients have serious mortgage problems - serious in that they are at risk of losing their homes."

MABS Cork has a catchment area that includes all of Cork city, and it also takes in areas from Youghal to Innishannon.

The organisation engages with lenders to begin or resume talks, on behalf of their clients.

"There are repossession hearings every week in Cork and up to 100 cases are being heard at each sitting," she said.

"About 40% of those would be new cases."

Ms O'Neill believes that overall the situation here has improved but only for just a small percentage of clients.

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