Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the Taoiseach’s response to the announcement by Bank of Ireland that it is to hike its credit card fees and squeeze its customers just before Christmas as “woefully inadequate and effectively the government washing its hands of protecting citizens from the greed of the banks.”
Mr Adams said;
“There is one rule for the banks and another for everyone else. This is the bank’s Christmas present to its customers just as the family home tax is the government’s.”
Teachta Adams this morning challenged the Taoiseach during Leaders questions on the Bank of Ireland decision. He asked the Taoiseach did he agree that this hike in credit card fees is wrong, has the government contacted the banks on this, did he plan to call the Banks before the Economic Management Council, or had he spoken to the Public Interest Directors – mostly former politicians – who sit on the bank to represent the government?
The Taoiseach made clear his government’s intention to do nothing.
Speaking after the debate the Louth TD said:
“The Taoiseach’s crocodile tears for credit card customers who are in serious debt is meaningless. The government has a responsibility to take action.
“The decision by the Bank of Ireland is reprehensible. This is a bank in which the government has a 15% share and that has received nearly €5billion of the citizens’ money.
“The Bank has taken a cynical decision to cash in on people when they are most stretched at Christmas time. They know that many citizens will be relying on credit cards at this time to see them through Christmas.
“The reality is that many people are already struggling to pay back debts accumulated over the years. And many people have been forced to rely on credit cards to pay for necessities.
“I know one woman who recently received a letter from the bank telling her that at her current rate of payment she wouldn’t clear her credit card until 2045. By that point she will be 90.
“The increase announced by the bank will add more pressure on citizens who are already struggling due to the government’s austerity policies and who in the new year will face an increased in PRSI, cuts to child benefit, the family home tax and now a hefty credit card bill.
“The Banks have been bailed out to the tune of €64 Billion. €20 Billion of that under Fine Gael and Labour’s watch.
“Despite this there is one rule for the banks and another for everyone else. This is Bank of Ireland’s Christmas present to its customers just as the family home tax is the government’s.”