Tax And Credit Unions
Sir, - I would like to comment on the long-sought meeting between the League of Credit Unions and the Government. In attendance were the Taoiseach and Tanaiste, but conspicuous by his absence was the Minister of Finance. Mr McCreevy's continued refusal to meet and talk to the credit unions and his increasingly bratty and petulant behaviour over this issue is becoming farcical. His claim that he was unfairly treated and misrepresented over the DIRT issue two years ago is school-boyish in the extreme. Ministers are not paid their very large salaries by the taxpayers to allow personal feelings to get in the way of resolving problems. If one of the major banking institutions were to request a meeting with this Minister you can bet he'd be there, to ensure, above all, that good relations continue between FF and the banks. It wouldn't do for this lucrative source of donated revenue to the party to dry up.
The credit union movement is one of the most successful, non-profit-making, community-based ventures ever introduced in this country. I am a member of my local credit union since my teens. I also helped to persuade the company where I work to set up a group scheme and a large section of the workforce are now members. I am, like many members, incensed at this insult by Mr McCreevy. Since its inception, the "poor man's bank" has helped working class people meet the financial strains of important occasions such as births, deaths and marriages and the many unexpected and unplanned for incidents and accidents that can strike families in life. And surely one of the most important contributions of the movement was keeping many thousands of people out of the clutches of illegal moneylenders.
The banks' call for a "level playing-field" is nonsense. Money generated in the credit union is shared out in dividends to the members, not in profit to a few fat cats. I hope the present difficulties between the credit union movement and the Government can be solved - no thanks to the Minister. In fact, after the highly inflationary and damaging, three-in-one budget, together with this latest nonsense, he should do the decent thing and resign or be made to. - Yours, etc.,
Cllr David Hynes, Member of Wexford Corporation, Davitt Rd South, Wexford.