Cork County Council officials have been urged to approach credit unions and ask them to finance local authority-built housing projects.
Fianna Fáil councillor Ian Doyle told a meeting of the council’s northern division there were several “very viable” credit unions in the North Cork area which should be asked to help ease the housing crisis.
“A lot of them have a good amount of surplus cash and they could come onboard with us to make credible plans,” said Mr Doyle.
He said credit unions could help the council develop local authority-owned land in the region and that the council should also get together with small builders to draw up plans for these sites.
He said that many small builders were reliable, but simply did not have the money to afford bonds, which are insurance policies they are obliged to lodge with financial institutions. These are drawn down by local authorities to finish off work if the builder fails to complete it.
This is a win-win situation. We would be providing people with work in smaller localities and this would help the local economy,” said Mr Doyle, adding out that the Community Bank system in Germany financed such projects.
“We don’t need to set up such a system, we have the credit unions who would be able to do it,” said Mr Doyle.
Fine Gael councillor Gerard Murphy agreed with him that speaking to credit unions was a good idea.
He said in the first instance the credit unions could help finance bonds for small builders.
“All of the credit unions have surplus cash,” said Mr Murphy. “This is an obvious facility which could be utilised to build badly needed houses. The county council, the government and credit unions should get together to create a mechanism to make the surpluses available for housing development.”