Fianna Fáil TD for South Kildare Seán Ó Fearghaíl has called on Minister Simon Harris to outline plans for the future use of the Newbridge Credit Union building.

The building, which has been acquired by the Office of Public Works, is to be made available to the Department of Social Protection for use as an Intreo centre, a one stop shop for employment and income supports.

Deputy Ó Fearghaíl commented, “It’s unlikely that the whole building will be needed by the Department of Social Protection and I am proposing that any unused space be made available to the community.  The use could be decided by a local consultation process, which would allow the people of Newbridge to determine the best use that may be made of the building which has been paid for in full by the 37,000 members of the former Credit Union.  Minister Harris has indicated that this consultation can be considered in early 2015.

“If this consultation takes place it will be the first time that the people of Newbridge will be consulted about any aspect of the situation by the relevant authorities’’ he said.

“Residents in Newsbridge have suffered real hardship following the forced withdrawal of Credit Union services. The impending closure of the Newbridge Parish Savings Club will come as a further blow to local low income families who would have used this club particularly in the run up to Christmas. It appears that this valuable resource is to be ended on foot of advice from the Charities Regulatory Authority. The inevitable outcome of this closure is that, in some cases, extortionist money lenders will move in to fill the vacuum and ultimately cause families greater hardship”.