The Housing Minister has welcomed a new scheme aiming to keep families who have fallen behind on their mortgages in their homes.
AIB has agreed to sell hundreds of homes in deep arrears to the not-for-profit iCare housing group.
The group will then rent the properties out to the families that previously owned them.
The Irish Independent reports that the scheme, which has Government backing, has funding of up to €100m.
Homeowners participating in the scheme will have their debt written off once they surrender their homes.
However the company has said that they will have an opportunity to buy them back - at the discounted price paid by iCare - once their circumstances improve.
Families will be required to qualify for social housing in order to participate in the scheme.
In a statement this afternoon, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the scheme offers a last-resort safety net for families on the brink of eviction.
“It is no small matter to lose ownership of your house,” he said. “However, where this seems to be the last resort, to have the additional option of remaining in your own home and community is invaluable to many families.”
The scheme has been widely welcomed as a novel way to stem the tide of families falling into homelessness; however it has come in for criticism from consumer body askaboutmoney.com.
The website’s founder Brendan Burgess described it as a “kick in the teeth” for families who have made sacrifices to pay their own bills.
“You have probably cancelled your holidays, you have probably cancelled your health insurance and you are paying AIB and the other banks in Ireland one of the highest mortgage rates in Ireland,” he said.
“Because not only are you paying your own mortgage, you are paying the mortgage for people who don’t pay their mortgages.”