Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo, Dara Calleary, has said that now more than ever the Government must seriously examine the proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil to allow Credit Unions - including those in Mayo - to provide loans to those wishing to purchase a home.
Deputy Calleary said: "An internal document from the Department of Housing details how further approvals are not currently being issued for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan. While the Minister has informed the Housing Committee that the scheme will be reopening as soon as possible for the ten local authorities affected, alternatives must be looked at to prevent this problem from happening again.
"Young couples and individuals from across Mayo have attended my offices and advice clinics in desperate need of housing, often with too high an income to get onto a social housing list and too low an income to get themselves a mortgage from a traditional lender. There is a middle ground here with little or no support.
"Banks can be difficult to deal with and operate under strict criteria. Why are the Government not making use of the Credit Union network to provide home loan schemes? Under present legislation or Central Bank rules, Credit Unions do not have the capacity to participate in schemes such as the Government-backed mortgage scheme.
"They are more than willing to do so. Credit unions are only lending 20 per cent of their capacity. They have €1 million coming in per week that they cannot use. They are only permitted to invest in the pillar banks, but the pillar banks are not giving them a return. Any return from a housing scheme would be far greater than the 0 per cent they currently get.
"This government have left some local authorities without a means to support young couples or single people trying to get onto the housing market and they must look at alternatives, including by utilising the Credit Unions across County Mayo to serve as lenders," concluded Deputy Calleary.