Thursday, 21 January 2016
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
153. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the status of the consideration of proposals contained in the Irish League of Credit Unions’ social housing strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2629/16]
I and my colleague, Minister of State, Deputy Paudie Coffey, met with the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) on 1 December 2015 to discuss a submission containing a proposal setting out a means by which funding could be provided to Approved Housing Bodies, by credit unions, for the development of social housing. My Department has since had a further meeting with the ILCU to address technical aspects of its proposal.
Conscious of the independence of the Central Bank in its regulatory role in respect of credit unions, bilateral engagement has taken place between my Department and the Department of Finance to consider the potential regulatory and legislative implications of credit union involvement in the social housing sector.
The Central Bank commenced a number of new regulations for credit unions on 1 January 2016. Prior to their commencement, following careful consideration, the Central Bank made a number of modifications including to Regulation 25(2) which makes reference to the fact that the Central Bank may prescribe, in accordance with section 43 of the Credit Union Act 1997, further classes of investments for credit unions which may include investments in projects of a public nature. The effect of these modifications is that regulation 25(2) now provides that investment in projects of a public nature can include, but are not limited to, investments in social housing projects.
I acknowledge the recent modifications made by the Central Bank and the willingness of credit unions to actively seek a role in financing the delivery of social housing. I look forward to the ILCU’s further engagement with the Central Bank on foot of the regulatory changes made and my Department will continue to engage constructively with the ILCU in relation to their proposal.