Junior finance minister Brian Hayes says the bank takeover of Newbridge Credit Union is an exception and was done in the interests of preventing any knock-on difficulties in the financial sector.
Despite the claim, local TDs have questioned the move transferring credit union customers to a bank. Fianna Fáil said the process of Permanent TSB taking over the credit union had been a “spectacular failure”, while a government TD also insisted he would work to ensure that full credit union services would be restored to the town.
Mr Hayes, speaking in Brussels, said: “This is an exceptional case given the extent of the liabilities. I think it is also important.”
He also said if the liquidation route for the credit union had been taken it could have caused untold misery and difficulties across the financial system.
However, Fianna Fáil Kildare TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl said: “The process that the Central Bank and the regulator has pursued since Newbridge Credit Union first ran into difficulty in 2011 has been a spectacular failure.”
He said the appointment of a special examiner to manage the institution had cost over €2m alone.
“The whole process has been cloaked in secrecy and the credibility of the directors in Newbridge Credit Union have been damaged.”
He said members of the credit union had not been consulted as to their views, which he said was “very worrying”.
Local Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon said earlier in the day that the credit facility needed to be reinstated.
He welcomed the protection of members’ savings and deposits but said the loss of the credit union was a “devastating blow” for the town.
“Nobody is defending the way the credit union was run in the past. However, questions have to be asked now about the handling of this whole process by the Central Bank both before and since the appointment of the special manager 22 months ago. Now that this process is about to be completed and the special manager’s term is coming to an end, we need full disclosure of financial information and the publication of all outstanding accounts. The members of Newbridge Credit Union deserve to know the full truth.
“I am dismayed to see the loss of the credit union from the town ... and will continue to work with the many loyal members to ensure that full credit union services return to the town.”
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