My original mortgage offer from 2010 (was a house purchase + renovations so level of phased payment) clearly states the offer was valid for 4 months only. Granted this was a different bank, but only 12 months after the OP mortgage discussionI don't think banks contact customers when loan offers are about to expire, I never recall doing that, feel that's up to customer and solicitor to get their act together to draw down in time.
I think this statement may be poorly phased to be honest. You had more comfort in the fact the rate was being tracked against something external. The ECB rate was likely to have no bearing on Ireland and would be driven by the economic powerhouses of France/Germany. However, around this time the ECB rate was rising and it peaked at 5.25% for a period. Add 1.2% onto this, and you would have a rate of 6.45% on an ECB tracker. There is no way that anyway, even the bravest economists, could have predicted that the ECB would engage in such a long and persistent QE programme in 2009 and leave ECB as close to 0 as possible for an extended period. These are extraordinary times, and this is what has made the tracker product so valuable - but that is only with the benefit of hindsight.You say, as someone who worked in a bank, that no one knew how good a Tracker was. I did, as I am sure many others did too.
If I was offered a 2.5% ECB tracker today or a 2.95% fixed for 10 years, being honest I would pick the 2.95% fixed. Why - in all probability, the ECB rate is likely to increase within the next 10 years. 2.95% gives be certainty and this has a premium associated to it. The only other time in my mortgage I fixed was for the first 2 years between 2011-2013 as there was a huge level of rate uncertainty and again it was the best option.