Irish families are going without food in order to meet their spiraling mortgage costs as the recession grips.

The reality has been exposed by a letter writer to the Irish Times who revealed the full torment of his family’s situation.

Writing as MP Mac Domhnaill from Tralee, the man revealed how the cost of a $120,000 mortgage has left his family with nothing to eat but bread and cereal.

The writer described his family’s predicament as a new torment as he struggles to pay his lender.

He wrote of the "anxiety and pain” as his $1,000 a month dole payment is used to fund the mortgage.

The Sunday Independent reports that such cases are not unusual in modern day Ireland as calls grow for mortgage debt forgiveness.
The paper reports that there are currently up to 60,000 mortgage holders in arrears in Ireland.

Economist Morgan Kelly, the man who predicted the downfall of the Celtic Tiger, told the paper the Irish state ‘must move’ on mortgage debt forgiveness.

“There are measures the States must introduce to end the anguish of many ordinary Irish families”, said Kelly.

“The purpose of debt forgiveness is not to eliminate negative equity, but to deal with the risk of people defaulting on smaller mortgages and losing their family homes.

“By identifying the people at risk and reducing their mortgages to manageable levels, or, in the case of the unemployed, renting people their homes as effectively council houses, the State can save itself huge losses on fire sales of foreclosed properties and end the anguish of many ordinary Irish families.”

Kelly has proposals which he is prepared to put to the Government – if they show any willingness to debate the issue.

He added: “A few families with absurdly large mortgages will need to be given assistance to relocate to more affordable property, but they are a small part of the problem.

“However, the large majority who can afford to pay their mortgages must pay every cent; regardless of how much they are in negative equity or may now regret their purchase.”

A poll for the Sunday Independent showed 70 per centsupport for the idea of debt forgiveness while 73 percent of respondents said they would not resent such relief for homeowners while they themselves continued to meet their commitments.

Professor Kelly added: “The State can save itself huge losses in fire sales of foreclosed properties and end the anguish of many ordinary families.”