[Sinn Fein]

29 September 2001

Call for establishment of state bank

Sinn Fein Dublin South Central representative, Aengus O Snodaigh today called for the estabhlishment of a state bank.  O Snodaigh was addressing the party Ard Fheis in the RDS.  The text of his remarks follows:

``I denounce the way financial institutions continually threaten the public. How they make hundreds of millions profit each year, while at the same time cutting back on the service to the public and how they discriminate against the poorest sections of our society. This is all done with the approval of the state. The stateís disgraceful role in perpetuating poverty can be summed up by the fact that its Director of Consumer Affairs, Ms Carmel Foley grant licences yearly to Moneylenders who charge rates of up to 196%. Moneylenders do not help people escape the clutches of poverty, they further exacerbate the problems. It is no coincidence that most of the licences granted were to companies in working class areas of Dublin.

It is no coincidence either that it is in these areas that closures of bank branches have been rampant. You can travel through most of my constituency and there are no banks. There is a major lack of adequate banking services in most working class constituencies. To compound this problem they have now become very user-unfriendly, with absurd ID requirements and minimum loan requirements of over 2,000. Many of those who get into difficulties with moneylenders do so because of small loans of 4/500. The only solution is to build up the non-commercial banking sector - An Post and the Credits Unions - with the aim of providing a public service. Linking the ACC bank and the ICC bank would add greatly to the capacity of this and also such a move would be a lifeline to the struggling local post offices around the county.

The ethos of this state bank would be as the motion states, to serve the interests of people not profit.

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