Victims of tracker mortgage rate scandal tell of the turmoil it has caused

Three other borrowers sat alongside Thomas Ryan in Leinster House and waived their anonymity to give emotional testimony of the impact mortgage overcharging has had on them.

Hazel Melbourne, a mother and wife and customer of Permanent TSB, composed herself as she gave an insight into the extent of the trauma visited on her and her family.

"There's one major consequence that has affected us but unfortunately I don't want to disclose it in public - probably to the delight of Permanent TSB," she said.

Mrs Melbourne told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that the bank's actions had a catastrophic impact on her family.

"The consequences we have suffered purely at the hands of Permanent TSB are devastating, heartbreaking and totally unacceptable," she said.

"Permanent TSB will never be able to compensate us as a family. They have taken a huge part of our lives away from us."

Mrs Melbourne said her family fought for six years to get the tracker dispute corrected and they still face turmoil.

"We are sick to the pit of our stomachs to think that all we had been through was avoidable. There was no need for our future to be changed," she told the committee.

"It just feels they are a giant cartel - you can turn nowhere for help or resolve as someone is always compromised by the banks. Where do the Irish people stand on this?"

Mrs Melbourne told committee chairman John McGuinness: "I am literally begging you to not just help my family but to help everyone out there who has suffered horrifically at the hands of a bank."

Niamh Byrne, a teacher, was working on a temporary contract when she drew down a mortgage in 2006 from Ulster Bank to buy an apartment.

She was subsequently awarded 25,000 euro after being refused to return to the tracker rate after fixing for a short-term but the ruling did not force the bank to put her back on the low rate.

"That does not restore me to the position I should have been in," Ms Byrne said.

She added: "It is nine years, two months and 28 days since this happened. The whole of my 30s has been spent in this situation.

"It looks like there no end to it. It has been extremely stressful. It has a huge impact on my finances.

"There was a suicide in my own family - if you have a direct link to that the statistic is that your chances fall to one in 100 of it happening to yourself so I'm quite careful to look after my mental health.

"This situation does not in any way help that."

Financial consultant Padraic Kissane said he won identical cases to Ms Byrne's through the Financial Ombudsman's office in 2011.

Helen Grogan told the committee of her experience of borrowing from EBS and moving to a tracker in Permanent TSB where she was offered special discount rate for one year only to be shifted on to a standard variable rate.

Reflecting on her battle Ms Grogan fought back emotions and said: "I'm just looking for justice.

"The one thing is the rage and frustration and anger that I was ripped off by the bank and duped by the bank, into thinking I had a product I could count on. That's the thing about this.

"It took me a couple of years to get over the fact that the ombudsman had found against me."

Ms Grogan said she has paid off 40,000 euro more than she should have and that by the end of the mortgage term she will have paid 70 or 80,000 euro.

"I am coming up for retirement soon and I am going to have a mortgage after I retire. That is something I was trying to avoid," she said.

Ms Grogan added: "Isn't it such a disgrace that we are all made to feel responsible for making a silly or stupid decision or not getting the right advice or letting the banks ride roughshod over us."


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