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Credit Unions under threat - Adams

4 November, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams recently met Norman McDonnell, Louth Constituency co-ordinator of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ICLU). Teachta Adams’ office was also represented at the ICLU’s breakfast briefing on October 14th for Oireachtas members.

The central issue of concern for the 352 credit unions that make up the ICLU is the threat of increasing regulation arising from the Central bank’s Consultation Paper 88 (CP88).  These will come into effect if the Minister for Finance signs a commencement order for sections of the enabling legislation.

The Louth TD raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil on Wednesday and described Enda Kenny’s response as “woefully inadequate”.

Gerry Adams said:

“The credit union movement is one of the most important social movements on this island.  It was established to assist lower income families to access credit and it has grown to be one of the largest voluntary organisations in the country.

 “Its ethos of volunteerism and its commitment to community make it unique. Credit unions are an integral part of every single community in every single part of our country. They have a distinct ethos that is based on values of community, of volunteerism, and of solidarity.  It has a not for profit ethos that needs protected and encouraged.

“On November 27th last year the Central Bank published a consultation paper on new regulations for credit unions (CP88). The imposition of these regulations is dependent on the Minister for Finance signing a commencement order for the appropriate sections of the enabling legislation – which are in the Credit Unions and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012. He is expected to do this next month.

“The credit unions believe that these regulations will impose serious restrictions on the ability of credit unions to fulfil their role. Numerous individual Credit Unions and the Irish League of Credit Unions have all raised serious concerns with the enactment of these sections.

“Specifically representatives of the Credit Union Movement have raised with me their concerns about the capacity of the credit unions to continue to contribute socially and economically to their communities. They have told me of their worries that more and more families and small businesses will be denied access to credit and will fall into the clutches of moneylenders.

“I asked the Taoiseach if the government will commit to reassessing the commencement orders that the Minister for Finance is to sign and in the meantime pause the signing of these orders. The Taoiseach’s non response provided no certainty for the credit union movement.”

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