During leaders questions in The Dail on Thursday I asked The Tainiste and the Minister for Finance to support an enhanced role for the credit unions in terms of the financial services that they provide especially in rural areas. I pointed out to the Tainiste that the banks had largely abandoned small rural communities and that credit unions and post offices were now the rural banking force. I would favour credit unions being able to issue debit cards and to accept direct debits as part of their services. I also impressed on the Tainiste the huge level of assets being held by the credit unions which could be used by the Government at a reasonable rate. I also asked the Tainiste and the Minister for Finance to review the regulation entitled CP88 which covers the amount that people are allowed to have on deposit in credit unions. It is my view that the Government must show an increased interest and support of the operation of credit unions and the post offices which are viable alternatives to the banks in rural areas.
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