21 May 2022

Illegal moneylenders are waiting outside post offices to collect, Dundalk JPC told

Illegal moneylenders are waiting  outside post offices to collect, Dundalk JPC told

The issue of illegal money lending was brought up by Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Meenan at the latest meeting of Dundalk JPC (Joint Policing Committee). 

Councillor Meenan told the meeting that he had noticed an increase in the practice within the last year or so and said that it was a common occurrence for the illegal lenders to wait outside post offices for people to collect their dole or children’s allowance and hand the money over immediately as a repayment.

He further stated that the lenders are charging exorbitant interest rates, while those who miss even one repayment often have their bills being doubled or even trebled. 

Councillor Meenan stated that he believed that criminal gangs were behind the enterprise and that the money lending was a convenient way for them to launder their money.

He said the practice was creating “absolute misery” and one of “the most disgusting things I’ve come across personally.” 

He told the meeting how he has often had to make representations to the local St Vincent de Paul to get food parcels for people who had no money, with some not having enough to pay their heating or electricity bills and that the issue was particularly severe in the months after Christmas. 

Councillor Meenan concluded by calling on the issue to be looked into and for both the gardai and the Louth County Council to take a joint approach when doing so. 

In response, Chief Supt Alan McGovern encouraged anyone with information regarding illegal money lending to come forward to the gardai and that they would be dealt with in confidence. 

He added:

“Money lenders must have a licence, there’s no grey areas there. I would encourage anyone who was under pressure to go to MABS (The Money Advice and Budgeting Service).” 

Superintendent Charles Armstrong said that local Gardai would continue to liaise with the local council and provide any support they can and that anyone who came forward with any relevant information would be treated seriously.

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