The Dail has passed an Opposition Bill which will give the Central Bank the power to intervene in the setting of mortgage rates. Those proposing the Bill claim banks have failed to pass on the current low interest rates in Europe to customers on variable rates. It has been reported that Irish standard variable mortgage rates stand at 3.6%, which exceeds the Eurozone average of 2%. The Minister for Finance expressed misgivings about the bill for three reasons: (i) doubts about its constitutionality; (ii) the Central Bank did not want the power to regulate rates in the first place; and (iii) the fact that the ECB needs to be consulted before any proposed Bill could be enacted. While the Central Bank Governor Philip Lane has also expressed misgivings about the Bill, calling it a “very crude instrument with many downsides”,  he has committed to “work to the letter of a proposed law” if the power  for the Central Bank to cap interest rates is enacted. The Bill is now at Committee Stage, but is expected to be challenged.