Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has reiterated her call for the introduction of a public banking system in Ireland.
The Ireland South MEP, who helped launch the Public Banking Forum of Ireland’s proposal document on an Alternative Banking Force last year, was speaking as the Government announced plans to discuss the possibility of introducing a public banking system to Ireland.
“Banking in Ireland needs a radical overhaul,” she said.
“In the past year alone we’ve seen numerous banks, all of which swore up and down that they had changed their ways following the 2008 collapse, get involved in a whole new swathe of scandals and questionable practices.
“From tracker mortgages to tax avoidance, they have proven themselves either unwilling or incapable of acting responsibly and accountably.
“A public banking system would provide a myriad of possibilities for local economic development; aiding diversification in rural areas, and facilitating the creation of quality jobs in our towns and villages.
“A localised and public-interest control of credit will support SMEs, the heart of our economy, and reinvest profits back into the community.
“At present our so-called pillar banks, control 95% of the credit market. In effect a handful of almighty CEOs control the credit supply in Ireland.
“Their singular interests are the performance of their respective banks, and ensuring a return for their shareholders.
“This model has been proven to be unstable. It vests huge economic power in the hands of a few and they have shown that that power corrupts. The gangrenous system we have in Ireland is not the norm in many of the most successful economies in Europe.
“Many of my colleagues on the EU Budgets Committee find it hard to understand why Ireland does not already have a Public Banking system.
“It provides loans to businesses, tradespeople, public cooperatives and extends to the personal lending market in the form of loans and mortgages.
“The basis of this model is that it serves the best interests of its customers first and reinvests its income, including profits, back into society.
“The greed of the current banking system in Ireland, which has caused so much pain, worry and anguish for so many people, must be ended. It can only be ended with the introduction of a public banking model.”