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Ministers should act on Banks Report - Ó Caoláin

15 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service, has welcomed the Committee's report on Bank Charges and Interest Rates. He called on the Government to act on its recommendations. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Report is an indictment of the banking sector in Ireland. It finds that consumers are paying too much for credit and money payment services. It exposes the lack of transparency on the part of banks regarding their charges for customers. The report recognises the continuing need for regulation of bank charges and urges the retention of regulation. The Report finds that the banking and finance sector is not sufficiently competitive and the Committee heard much evidence of the abuse of the privileged position of the major banks.

"Banks benefit enormously from the low Corporation Tax rate in this State, a rate found by a recent survey (Forbes, June 2005) to be the third lowest in the world. For that reason I welcome the recommendation in the Report that the bank levy should be continued. I would argue for its extension.

"I especially welcome the recommendations that the Department of the Environment should act to make mortgages more readily available to participants in the Affordable Housing Schemes. The recommendation that the credit institutions should contribute €5 million per annum to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service is very positive.

"I call on the relevant Ministers, the regulatory bodies and the financial institutions to act on the recommendations of this Report which represents a major body of work for this Oireachtas Committee, based on extensive consultations with all concerned." ENDS

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