Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has said that now more than ever the Government must seriously examine the proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil to allow Credit Unions, including those in Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and South Donegal, to provide loans to those wishing to purchase a home.

Deputy Scanlon said “Young couples and individuals from across my constituency have attended my offices and advice clinics in desperate need of housing, often with too high an income to get onto a social housing list and too low an income to get themselves a mortgage from a traditional lender. There is a middle ground here with little or no support.

“Banks can be difficulty to deal with and operate under strict criteria. We should generate alternatives for people. The Government should make use of the Credit Union network to provide home loan schemes. Under present legislation or Central Bank rules Credit Unions do not have the capacity to participate in schemes such as the Government-backed mortgage scheme.

“They are more than willing to do so. Credit unions are only lending 20% of their capacity. They have €1 million coming in per week that they cannot use. They are only permitted to invest in the pillar banks, but the pillar banks are not giving them a return. Any return from a housing scheme would be far greater than the 0% they currently get.

“This government have recently left some local authorities without a means to support young couples or single people trying to get onto the housing market with the home loan scheme. They must look at alternatives, including by utilising the Credit Unions across the north west region to serve as lenders”, concluded Deputy Scanlon.