Credit unions await Govt response on €5bn social housing loan offer

Friday 18 March 2016 14.49
The ILCU said the fund could be used to finance up to 26,000 homes by 2021
The ILCU said the fund could be used to finance up to 26,000 homes by 2021

Communication with the Government over the Credit Union’s offer of a €5bn loan for social housing is a decision-making roundabout that seems to be interminable, according to its president.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Brian McCrory said the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has no political agenda, but has a significant amount of money available and would like to be part of the solution to the housing problem.

Last October, the ILCU formally submitted a proposal to the Government to provide €5bn in funding for social housing.

It is understood the money would then be lent to approved housing associations, with the aim of providing up to 26,000 social housing units by 2021.

The Government has not yet formally responded to the offer, but in a statement the Department of Finance said a number of meetings on the matter had taken place.

Mr McCrory said that the League has been in correspondence with a number of departments since last year and he has spoken to Minister for Environment Alan Kelly.

He said there are still ongoing communications, but it is frustrating that it is taking an inordinate amount of time.

He said the money would be available to the Government at a very competitive rate, but added that no-one has asked about the terms and conditions.

Mr McCrory said the money is currently sitting in deposit accounts, getting less than zero return.

A Department of Finance spokesperson said the proposals were still at an early stage and would be subject to approval by the Central Bank.

Separately, the Department of the Environment, which is responsible for implementing social housing policies, said it would continue to engage constructively with the credit union body. 

Keywords: credit unions