Sligo/North Leitrim TD Deputy Michael Colreavy has condemned the government’s decision to reject the Sinn Féin bill on capping the interest rates imposed by money lenders at 40%.
Speaking in the chamber Deputy Colreavy said that the economic crisis that gripped this country has left many people in some very difficult situations. He said: “It is almost certain that every one of us in this chamber has heard of harrowing stories, whether through our constituency clinics or through the media, of people who don’t have enough money to afford the bare necessities. This, as I am sure you are aware, puts many people in a very difficult situation.
“What do they chose to spend their little amount of money on? Do they spend it on their crippling mortgage payments? Do they spend it on food for their families? Do they spend it school books and uniforms for their children? Are people willing to sacrifice heating their home just so they can afford essential medical procedures? These questions must be some of the most difficult questions that any household could face. It is the duty of us, as elected representatives, to help alleviate their suffering in any way we can.
“The purpose of this bill is very simple. It is essentially to place a cap on the interest rates that legal money lenders can enforce on those who have to borrow from them. When people are not able to attain a loan from a Credit Union or from a bank, they are forced to seek a loan from money lenders. The current legislation means that people who find themselves in tough, difficult situations, can be extorted by money lenders and extremely high interest rates. This is an immoral situation. Money lenders are using peoples suffering and making a profit off them. This cannot be allowed to continue. A 40% interest rate cap is a necessary step to bring these money lenders into line with reality. We cannot, as legislators, let them extort the most vulnerable in our society.”