Mortgages and Morality in Ireland

Photograph by Tim Graham/Getty Images

The only number you need to understand Ireland, says David Hall, is the only one that has been increasing without fail, quarter by quarter, since the end of 2009. “It’s the mortgage arrears,” he says. “It’s staring us in the face.” Last year Hall, who made his fortune in the 1990s with a private ambulance company, founded the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, a fee-based service that helps homeowners negotiate with banks. He’s become a public face in Ireland for those under water and in arrears. Since its banking crisis, he points out, Ireland has earned a reputation in European capitals as the good son, consistently meeting its fiscal targets for the IMF and successfully renegotiating some of the terms of its bailout agreement. But at home, says Hall, “we’re on our way to Detroit.”

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.