We must limit moneylenders, not compete with them – Doherty
Sinn Féin TD and Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has called on the Government to support his Bill to clamp down on moneylenders and not simply allow credit unions to increase their interest rates in order to compete. Teachta Doherty said that a move to increase credit union interest rates to 2% a month must be accompanied by drastic reductions on moneylender rates.
The Donegal TD said:
“Credit unions are a very important part of the Irish financial system. However, to say that in order to compete with moneylenders, they need to charge greater levels of interest is a backwards step I feel unless this is accompanied by a greater restriction on what interest moneylenders can charge.
“Currently, moneylenders are licenced to charge 187% interest, combined with collection fees, this rises to over 200%.
“In December, I introduced a very straight forward piece of legislation that would help 330,000 people who borrow from moneylenders, 7% of the entire population of the State, by limiting the rate of interest that moneylenders could charge.
“Any move to increase credit union interest rates to 2% a month must be accompanied by drastic reductions on moneylender rates. I suggested a 2% rate for credit unions during Second Stage of my Bill and that we deal with this issue substantively at Committee Stage of the Bill.
“My legislation to cap moneylenders passed to Committee Stage in December without Government support. If Government push ahead with this change to credit union interest rates without the necessary regulation of moneylenders, they are proving that they are not interested in helping vulnerable families.”