Adams critical of rise in credit card interest rates


An increase in credit card interest rates is Bank of Ireland’s “Christmas present” to citizens and the Government’s gift is the family home tax, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has claimed in the Dáil.

He made the claim as he called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene in the rate rise of up to 4 per cent, which came into effect on Tuesday, for the bank’s credit card customers.

Mr Kenny stressed the Government’s shareholding in Bank of Ireland was just 15 per cent. “I do not like a situation where this announcement was made by the banks three or four days before Christmas but this is a commercial entity that has made this choice.” He said the Government did not regulate this area “but we are prepared to respond if the regulator requires further facilities or what he might consider more appropriate powers for himself”.

Mr Adams pointed to credit union findings that “people can take up to six months to repay Christmas spending”. He said one woman had told him that at her current rate of payment, she would not clear her credit card debt until 2045.

“The Taoiseach says he cannot do anything about this but has he spoken to the public interest directors?”

But Mr Kenny said “it is not a case of saying the Government will not do anything”. If the regulator required further facilities the Government would respond, he said.