Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on all parties to work together and support his legislation to cap the interest rates charged by moneylenders. The legislation will be considered by the Finance Committee in January 2021.
At present, moneylenders are permitted to charge extortionate interest rates with APR of up to 187% trapping borrowers who are least able to pay into a cycle of unsustainable debt.
Speaking today at Dáil Leaders’ Questions, Teachta Doherty said:
“For many, Christmas can be a worrying time.
“St Vincent de Paul have described this year’s Annual Appeal as one of the most difficult in their history.
“Difficulties for some present opportunities for other. There are an estimated 330,000 customers of licensed moneylenders in the state today. These moneylenders are permitted by government to charge APR of 187%.
“This rises to 288% when collection charges are included.
“Ireland is an outlier when it comes to the extortionate interest these moneylenders are permitted to charge.
“Interest rate caps are in place in 21 EU countries, including Germany France and Italy.
“On the December 6th 2018, I introduced the Consumer Credit Amendment Bill.
“This legislation would introduce a statutory cap on the interest that moneylenders could charge.
“It passed Second Stage in the Dáil two years ago and will be considered in the Finance Committee in January 2021.
“A statutory cap on the interest rates that moneylenders can charge is supported by the Social Finance Foundation, the Citizens Information Board, the Credit Union Movement, and by charities such as St Vincent de Paul.
“My legislation is a chance to tackle this issue once and for all, and cap the interest which moneylenders can charge, often against the most vulnerable in our society.
“This is an opportunity for all parties, the government and opposition, to work together and do the right thing.”