The lack of access to credit is “strangling the life out of small businesses” in Galway, according to a local TD.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has said the latest report on lending figures from the Central Bank proves that the banking sector and the Government are failing small businesses in Galway and across the country.
The Fianna Fáil TD has called on the Government to provide increased lending powers to credit unions and the Western Development Commission to increase the credit available to viable local businesses.
“This report clearly demonstrates what small businesses in Galway and across the country have known for some time – banks are simply not lending and the Government is doing little or nothing about it,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“The desperately weak level of lending is strangling the life out of small businesses in this region and it is costing us jobs. At the moment, banks are turning away viable customers with good business plans who can fully repay their loans. This ultimately results in business closures, more job losses and an unprofitable banking system.”
The Connemara TD continued to say that it was time for the Government to “wake up’ and “stop living in denial” about the extent of lending to small and medium businesses.
“It’s clear from this report that the banks have been sugar-coating their lending figures and that the Government has just accepted this without question. As the owner of AIB and shareholder in Bank of Ireland, the Government needs to use its teeth and ensure that appropriate lending targets are fully met.”
He also called for credit unions to be allowed lend to businesses with finance from the National Treasury Management Agency, adding that the Western Development Commission also needs to be funded so it can administer smaller, recoverable loans for hard-pressed businesses.
“This report is a damning indictment of the Irish banking sector and it must act as a wake-up call for the Government. The small business sector is the lifeblood of the local economy and the key to economic recovery in the West. The Government should be doing everything in its power to support local businesses and encourage job creation,” he said.