Thursday, 17 December 2020
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I will take the matter up with the Minister for Finance and see what his thinking on it is. There may well not be evidence, but the absence of evidence does not necessarily mean it is not happening. As the Deputy knows, moneylending at extortionate rates happens off the books, which makes it inherently unofficial, and there will not be evidence unless someone comes forward and says it is happening. However, I have an open mind on this matter. It may well be the right thing to do in 2021 to say that no lender can charge an interest rate above a stated amount, but we need to bear in mind that, if we decide to do so in an attempt to put a stop to high interest rates in the official lending market, we could create a new market for moneylenders and make the situation worse. I appreciate what the Deputy is saying, his good intent in this matter and the evidence and advices he has provided.