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The government must increase the pace of its banking reforms, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi said on March 7, as new Irish financial data revealed that mortgages on 23,500 properties have not been paid for two years or more.

Draghi congratulated Ireland on its economic reforms but said there had been insufficient progress in the banking sector.

His comments have come just days after the EU’s 27 finance ministers approved a plan to postpone repayment of part of Ireland’s €40bn bailout.