A test case that could hold the banks and the former government responsible for the financial ruin of tens of thousands of Irish families is about to be taken.

The Irish Examiner reports that the potentially groundbreaking test case is set to be taken against the State.

The paper says the case is to be taken by the Irish Property Council on behalf of individual families whose lives have been ruined by reckless lending pushed on them by financial institutions at the height of the Celtic Tiger property boom.

The Irish Property Council has confirmed to the Examiner that: “it is seeking individuals badly damaged by 100% mortgages, reckless lending and a lack of regulation as part of a planned case seeking mass compensation.”

Advertisements will be placed in the national newspapers on Thursday arguing that: “people’s lives have been ruined by the system that created the Celtic Tiger-era property bubble.”

The IPC - which mainly represents small-scale builders, developers and property investors - will seek individuals prepared to put their names forward as part of a test case seeking to force compensation from the state and the banks.

The advert reads: “The destruction of the property market has been caused by the reckless lending of our banks, lack of regulation by our government and the disregard of prudent advice on fiscal policy by the Government in power.

“Property owners in negative equity are being ruthlessly scape-goated through the courts without any responsibility for the catastrophe falling on the banks, Government, Financial Regulator or Department of Finance.

“The IPC require a willing plaintiff that can be supported in a court action. This case will be a landmark case requiring the support of all property owners who require a new direction to resolve this national crisis.”

Figures from the Irish Central Bank show more than 44,500 households are more than three months behind with their mortgage repayments.

Padraic Ferry of Ferry Solicitors, legal advisor to the IPC, told the Examiner: “We will be trying to raise questions on what took place in regulation, in encouraging people to invest or take mortgages, in property speculation.”

More information is available at www.irishpropertycouncil.com

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