People affected are suicidal and marriages are breaking down

There are around 66 thousand mortgages in arrears in Ireland, affecting approximately a quarter of a million adults and children.

According to a report from Community Action Network, the majority of properties at risk of repossession are long standing family homes.

CAN says 23% of these people have a possession order, while 5% have an eviction notice.

Two thirds of people say if they lost their home, they wouldn't be able to afford to rent privately.

Cecilia Forrestal from CAN says people are suicidal and marriages are breaking down as a result of being in mortgage arrears: 'I have met people who have talked about sitting in the darkness at their kitchen table in total despair. I've met people who tell me about suicides, I've certainly met people for whom marital breakdown has been a fallout'.

CAN says systemic measures need to be introduced and there are calls on the government to buy homes that are in mortgage arrears and rent them back to the owners.

Julie Sadlier, a solicitor who works with people in mortgage arrears says 'human rights need to take precedence over economic rights.'