[Sinn Fein]

5ú Iúil 2001

Moneylenders Must Be Regulated

Dublin Councillor Nicky Kehoe today called for the government to combat moneylenders who, he claimed, continue to prey on many low income families. Councillor Kehoe pointed out that no unlicensed moneylenders have been prosecuted in recent years, despite the fact that many continue to operate in the most disadvantaged areas of Dublin. The Sinn Fein representative for Dublin Central also said that a large number of licensed moneylenders charge exorbitant rates of up to 197 percent.

Councillor Kehoe said:

``There are many unscrupulous moneylenders still operating in this city who continue to prey on the poorest of the poor in our society. People who use money lenders tend not to have bank accounts and have no access to credit elsewhere. Many poorer families often are forced to  borrow from moneylenders just to survive or for special occasions and end up borrowing more money just to pay back their original debt. Because they are so desperate for cash and have no access to credit, many poorer families are willing to go to moneylenders and accept loans at rates of around 150 percent. For families on social welfare or low incomes such interest rates can be crippling.

``It is essential that the government tackle these unscrupulous lenders by only giving licences to moneylenders who offer loans at set rates to be determined. Also, those lenders who continue to operate outside the law should be targeted by the Gardaí and Revenue Commissioners.''

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