Deputy Thomas Pringle has said credit unions must have the ability to provide the same financial services as banks, without the restrictions they currently face.
Deputy Pringle said: “It’s about time that we recognised our credit unions as the invaluable institutions that they are – institutions that serve the people and not the markets.”
Deputy Pringle addressed the Dáil on Wednesday to support the Credit Union (Amendment) Bill 2021, brought forward by independent TD, Marian Harkin.
The deputy said: “I recently met with The Rosses Credit Union in Dungloe, who explained to me the limitations these restrictions have on them. We need to allow credit unions the ability to provide more modern financial services to suit modern-day needs, and I believe this bill takes the necessary steps to ensure this.”
The deputy has long highlighted the importance of community banking and has previously called for the Government to expand the remit and authority of credit unions.
Deputy Pringle said: “Independently run credit unions, which make their own decisions at local level, tailored specifically to suit the best interests of its members, are far more equipped to know and deal with the needs of their own communities than the bankers sitting over in the Central Bank here in Dublin.”
He said: “Credit unions in my constituency of Donegal are invaluable. Constituents rely on community banking to access loans that mainstream banks wouldn’t even dream of considering them for. Many of the businesses in my own community exist due to the funding provided by our local credit union, whose sole interest is not to make profits for the stock markets or shareholders, but to see the community actually thrive.
“As a member of the credit union myself and of the community, I have seen the incredible impact a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution with a community-based and volunteer ethos has had in my town of Killybegs and indeed in many towns across Donegal. And these institutions are more important than ever now with the recent closure of so many banks across the county,” he said.
Citing closures of bank branches across Donegal, the deputy said: “This is a huge blow to my constituents, especially in south-west Donegal, who have been continuously let down time and time again”.
Deputy Pringle said: “We need our credit unions here now more than ever.”
He said: “If the government is serious about actually wanting to revitalise our communities, then I strongly believe that credit unions are an effective way to do this.”