Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Friendly Societies and Industrial and Provident Societies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013: Committee Stage
The Senator mentioned the supervisory regime or lack thereof. Nobody in these Houses of the Oireachtas would disagree with the Senator's critique of the lack of supervision.
There is no question or ambiguity about that but for the purposes of the Bill it is important to note that we are seeking to move to a situation whereby one recognises the 47 that are in existence and those that have loan funds, but one ensures that the changes to the legislation are being made as a preliminary step in the process of establishing a system of the most appropriate supervision of certain existing societies, especially operating in the area of financial service provision. That is the ethos under which we are trying to introduce the legislation. It is intended that the group of societies would be subject to Central Bank supervision and that this would be the closed group.
I accept the points made by the Senator. I do not think anybody in the House would disagree with him on his critique of the system up to now but what we are seeking to do is to ensure the system is fit for purpose, notwithstanding the fact that these friendly societies go back to the 19th century and there is a particular ethos around them. The Senator speaks to my own geographical area of north Cork. I remember names such as Nora Herlihy and Horace Plunkett among others that are synonymous with movements such as this. We do not seek to lose sight of that either but what we want to do is ensure we have an appropriate model for the 21st century and that is what we are trying to achieve in the Bill.