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Cullinane warns against a further financial tsunami

16 June, 2011

Sinn Féin group leader in the Seanad David Cullinane today addressed the possibility that the state may be facing a further financial tsunami, in particular relating to personal debt and the Credit Union sector.

Speaking on the Order of Business in the Seanad today, Senator Cullinane highlighted the growing issues which face the credit union sector, as well as the growing amount of household debt.

Senator Cullinane said:

“Household debt now amounts to some 190% of disposable income. This is an incredible figure, which must bring great concern to us all.

“It shows the huge pressures that have been placed on the least well off in this state and it underlines the complete and total failure of both the previous and current governments.

“People are desperately borrowing because they are unable to meet their debts, and pay their bills. This is a direct consequence of government policies of cutting wages, of cutting the hours of workers, of underemployment as well as unemployment. Many of these debts are credit union debts.

“We are now facing the possibility that credit unions may need to be bailed out. This will cost tax payers more money, perhaps as much as €500m.

“Much of the criticism which was levelled at the previous Dáil was on the basis that it was perceived to be asleep at the wheel. Let's not be accused of the same, it is crucially important that we have that discussion, and that debate, and that we do not sleep walk in to a crisis.

“The government’s policies are having the opposite effect to what was intended. We are facing another potential financial tsunami if corrective action is not taken.”

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