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Enda Kenny 'doesn't expect 25,000 people to lose homes'

Enda Kenny has moved to play down fears that as many as 25,000 people are poised to lose their homes in the ongoing housing crisis.

Homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry has warned that half of the 50,000 homes currently in mortgage arrears of more than two years could be repossessed by the banks.

But the Taoiseach said he did not expect the number to be so high.

"Fr McVerry speaks from his heart at all times," Mr Kenny said, during a briefing at Government Buildings.

"I don't expect that number of people to be removed from their houses.

"I wouldn't want to see that."

However, Mr Kenny said that many distressed mortgages taken over by vulture funds were subject to agreements.

"Clearly some cases have never responded in respect of the agreements that were made originally," he added.

"The Government brought in a whole suite of measures to allow for people who have difficulties if they're in mortgage arrears or serious mortgage arrears, to move on with their lives and make arrangements in respect of their accommodation.

"There's been a 15% fall in people coming out of difficulties with mortgage arrears this year and we intend to continue to work on that for the time ahead."

Fr McVerry has blamed vulture funds and foreign landlords for evicting Irish tenants.

Comparing the crisis to Famine-era Ireland, he said something had gone "seriously wrong" and banks were not interested in making deals with individual householders but wanted to sell loans off to vulture funds.

The prospect of 25,000 more families losing their homes was a "real scenario over the next few years", he said.

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