Sinn Féin TD for Kerry/Limerick West, Martin Ferris, has called for a ban on money lenders with criminal convictions in other jurisdictions being given licences as mortgage lenders here.
He was responding to a report in the Irish Examiner today on sub-prime lender Ron Weisz and companies with which he has been connected.
Deputy Ferris said:
“I have been keeping an eye on Mr Weisz for many years now. This began when I was first contacted by people who are in severe difficulties over high interest mortgages and aggressive attempts to repossess properties. Weisz and his likes have ruined people’s lives.
“Further investigation on my part revealed that Mr Weisz had been declared bankrupt in the United States, and that he has a criminal conviction related to lending practises here in Ireland. It is now clear that he and his associates have an even more dubious record.
“On the many previous occasions I have raised this in the course of Dáil questions, direct questions face to face with Ministers, and with the Central Bank I have received an unsatisfactory response.
“According to the current legislation and Central Bank regulations, there is nothing in fact to prevent people with Mr Weisz’s record from becoming mortgage providers or money lenders.
“That situation must change, especially in the current climate where many people, including struggling businesses, are forced into the sub-prime market, where there is the possibility that they will enter into arrangements with people such as Weisz and his associates.
“I am therefore calling on the Minister for Finance, as a matter of urgency, to introduce legislation to prevent people with relevant criminal convictions in other jurisdictions from being licensed to operate in this state.”