Fine Gael Kildare South TD Martin Heydon, has today (Wednesday) raised in the Dail the need for the return of Credit Union Services to Newbridge. Speaking before Minister of State at the Department of Finance Simon Harris he emphasised the impact that the loss of Newbridge Credit Union had on the town and the vital need to restore access to credit union services in the 15th largest town in the Country.

“It is crucial that we ensure the return of credit union services to the town of Newbridge. Newbridge Credit Union effectively closed down with the transfer to PTSB in 2013. The issue came to a head in recent weeks with PTSB sending cheques out to thousands of members of the former credit union with the final closure of their savings accounts. That was one cheque in the post most people did not want to receive.

“The loss of services has had an impact on businesses in the town as well as members. It is absolutely crucial that Newbridge residents get access to credit union services. Down the line I hope that such a facility can open in the town itself. However, as a start, people who want to access those credit union services have to be able to do so. At present, the common bond area of Newbridge is a void that means residents of the town can’t join other Credit Unions. The ordinary members of the former Newbridge Credit Union, who made no mistakes and are not at all at fault for what happened with the credit union, are the real losers at present.

“I was pleased that Minister Harris confirmed the support of Minister Noonan and his Department for the return of Credit Union services and confirmed that an application was before the Central Bank from a local Credit Union to expand its common bond area. I recently held meetings with the Central Bank to emphasise to them the importance of approving this application from Naas and I will continue to push for this.

“Minister Harris also confirmed the current status of the building with contracts recently signed between the liquidator and the OPW and a formal sale due to be completed during quarter 1 of 2015. He also confirmed that the Building would be used as an Intreo office to provide a single point of contact for all employment and income supports. This will be critical as we get more people back to work. I am continuing to liaise with Minister Harris and the Tanaiste Joan Burton on the possibility of additional uses for the building including community uses that could provide local business supports.

“I want to ensure that what happened in Newbridge never happens again. Minister Harris confirmed that the Central Bank had commissioned a report to examine the practices that led to the appointment of the Special Manager. While no actions were considered necessary from this report, its findings will inform future regulatory actions at the Central Bank which is to be welcomed.”