Q – Our mortgage was taken over by a vulture fund and our monthly repayments have increased by over € 600 per month with apparently more increases due. We cannot afford that and are already in arrears. We are a normal working family with three children and had been up until recently, just barely scraping by. We feel we have nowhere to turn and terrified of what the future may hold for us. Please help. Pat – Longford

 A – Unfortunately, I am hearing this time and time again from people around the country in a similar situation. Many families, referred to as “mortgage prisoners” in the media of late are under tremendous pressure trying to pay their mortgage, which has increased hugely. It is important Pat for you to know you are not alone and there is help available to you. Firstly, I would advise that you get in touch with a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) A list of PIPs are available on and these are regulated by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI), the government body set up to help people deal with their debt problems. They will look at your situation and advise you of your options. You mention you are in arrears on your mortgage so it also sounds like you could be eligible for a FREE consultation with a PIP under Abhaile, the State-funded scheme set up to help people with mortgage arrears to access advice. The other good news is while you are availing of a debt solution you will be entitled to a reasonable standard of living. The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) has set out guidelines recognising the expenses a person necessarily incurs to ensure a reasonable standard of living. These guidelines allow for various expenses including food, clothing, education, healthcare, car insurance and a modest allowance for savings. Any money left over after these expenses may go towards paying off the debt.  The ISI has a handy calculator where you can get a good idea of what your reasonable living expenses are by visiting  and clicking on the Living Expenses Calculator tab on the homepage. Good luck.

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