Independent MEP Marian Harkin has this week reiterated her “disgust and shock at the disdainful treatment meted out to the Irish Credit Union movement by the Government and Central Bank”.
Speaking on foot of an Irish Times piece which she says “quite rightly highlights the abject hypocrisy of the Government's actions in making credit unions the sole bondholder to be burned to date,” Harkin argued that “this will serve only to undermine a not-for-profit financial institution which has, unlike the banks, consistently supported Irish communities - particularly the most marginal”.
“I have monitored this issue closely for a number of months,” Harkin added, noting that “I wrote a formal letter to EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier in March of this year requesting that he investigate the legality of the Irish Government’s decision to 'burn' Credit Union bondholders in IBRC.
“His response indicated that while deposits held by Credit Unions in banks would be eligible for deposit protection under the EU Deposit Guarantee Scheme, this is limited to €100,000 in Ireland and consequently credit unions were burned to the tune of more than €15 million.
“This is a baffling failure by the Irish Government,” she said.
“Our Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton has said that there appeared to be an inexplicable preference for loading the costs of the banking crisis on the shoulders of ordinary people and small business. How can she now support her Government’s preference for exploitative banks instead of the community supporting financial services provided by Credit Unions?
"All this amounts to further proof that 'Official Ireland' continues to protect the insiders but that the vital interests of citizens, from a financial and indeed community perspective, are pitifully low on the national list of priorities,” the Independent MEP concluded.