Harkin calls on Mayo credit union customers to lobby against Government proposals

The 83,000 people who are members of 11 credit unions in Co Mayo with savings of more than €363 million should insist that their public representatives oppose the policy of the Government, the Central Bank, and regulators who are requiring credit unions to give banks preferential access to creditors.

This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin when she said that the Government would do well to have regard to the views expressed recently in the European Parliament by President Michael D Higgins when he referred to “a deficit of democratic accountability in some decision making of an economic and fiscal kind”.

She accused the Government and the Central Bank of threatening the future of the credit union movement in the interests of banks which, she said, had undermined the country’s economy and caused incalculable harm to individuals, families, and the entire social fabric of the country.

She said: “It is astounding, to say the least, that the Central Bank acting for the Government, is attempting to weaken the credit union movement in the interest of the banks and in doing so is undermining a financial support mechanism which has, unlike the banks, done nothing but good for the community. The latest spokesperson for ‘official Ireland’ to engage in an unworthy attack on the credit unions is the registrar of credit unions Sharon Donnery. In her speech to the AGM of the Irish League of Credit Unions last weekend, she has warned of dire outcomes for the people’s credit movement if they fail to concede to the banks. For the regulator of credit unions to demand concessions for banks which broke every rule in the book by pushing excessive mortgages on people is totally unacceptable. Even more unacceptable is the pressure being exercised by various representatives of ‘official Ireland’ that the banks must have preference over credit unions in debt recovery.”

According to Ms Harkin, credit unions stand by the community. “The banks stand for maximising profit and if they can do so by eliminating the competition of credit unions they will regain the dominant position from which, in the past, they have ruined the country’s economy and blighted the lives of its citizens.”

She concluded: “Over €100 million of credit union funds were written off in the failures of Anglo Irish, AIB, Bank of Ireland, and TSB. In no way can credit unions again be sacrificed to the benefit of badly performing financial entities, many of which are now raising interest rates on mortgages.”


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