Carey and Killeen Clash over Credit Unions in Dáil Éireann debate

Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey last week clashed in Dáil Éireann with Minister Tony Killeen in relation to the impact new legislation will have on the Credit Union movement in Ireland.

Deputy Carey has said that the new regulations will hamper the way Credit Unions conduct their business. He said that the credit union movement had served this country well and had not lent billions to property developers or got involved in wholesale property development.

Deputy Carey said

“The Credit Union movement are an integral part of community life throughout County Clare and throughout the Country. Credit Unions have always sought to help their members. These new regulations, which were designed for banks under the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010, will prevent Credit Unions from helping ordinary members with their financial problems. The new legislation voted into law by Fianna Fail will bring overbearing regulation and extra costs to these institutions, which will prevent rescheduling of member loans in these very difficult times.”

“Last week, I appealed to Minister Killeen, who took this legislation on behalf of the Government, to accept the amendment put forward which would protect the Credit Union movement from this section of the Bill.

Unfortunately Minister Killeen failed to listen. You must remember the average loan to the 2.5 million members of Credit Unions in the Republic of Ireland is less than €9,000. The Credit Union movement will not be sending loans to NAMA. It’s outrageous that at a time when ordinary people need most help and support, the Government is introducing such obstacles to the one financial institution in this Country that has not indulged in wholesale reckless lending practices.”

“This piece of legislation still has to pass through Seanad Éireann. The Fine Gael Party will table an amendment to the Bill that will be pushed to a vote. I would urge the Government to look more favorably at that stage on the Credit Union movement.”

Below is extract from the Dáil Debate of the 1st July 2010

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: A number of Deputies still wish to speak and I am anxious to allow adequate time for the Minister of State to reply. I ask Members to bear that in mind.

Deputy Joe Carey: I, too, strongly support this amendment. The credit union movement is an integral part of community life in Ireland, particularly in my constituency, County Clare. I am sure my colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Killeen, has met deputations from County Clare credit unions in his constituency office. Since Friday, when this latest bombshell was dropped, they have been in touch with me.

The credit union movement has been conned on this matter by Fianna Fáil and the Minister for Finance. They were duped and told, “We’re going to sort this out. Don’t kick up a racket – we’ll look after the credit union movement”. They have not done so and this Bill is where it counts. I appeal to the Minister of State to look favorably on the credit union movement, the wonderful work it does and the flexibility it can offer its members. When people encounter difficulties loans can be rescheduled. The country is now in a very difficult situation. People are under huge financial stress and the flexibility the credit union movement can offer its members was never more needed.

The new proposals would bring about considerable oversight of credit unions in terms of regulation. The credit union movement is not broken so there is no need to fix it or tamper with it. I strongly support this amendment.