THE country’s major banks, which are being bailed out by the taxpayer, are closing their doors to people who want to work and stay off the dole.
Ardee man Robbie McMullen, who was made redundant and then set up his own business, said this week that the bailed-out banks are just laughing at people who lose their jobs and approach them with a business plan.
“Two of the major banks laughed us right out when we asked them for help,” he said. “Basically they just don’t want to know.
“We went to one major bank last August and they only came back to us last week.”
Mr Mullen did get financial support from Ulster Bank who are not part of the government’s banking bail-out scheme.
He went on to set up his own business, Wheelieclean, a mobile bin washing, deodorising and disinfecting service for domestic homes and business people.
His work was featured on the RTE Business programme by George Lee, who travelled to Ardee to interview Mr McMullen and told him it was a great business idea and to keep with it.
But even when they did get funding for the business, there was more red tape.
“The revenue are just as bad,” Mr Mullen said. “My accountant told me I couldn’t get tax clearance because the forms were sitting on someone’s desk for six weeks. And without tax clearance you can’t start a business.
“But when they discovered I owed them something, a small amount I didn’t know I owed, the bill was out to me straight away. It’s just crazy.”
Mr Mullen said the state could make huge savings if people were helped start their own businesses instead of being hindered and forced to go on the dole.
And even though the troubled banks are not lending money, they are continuing to put pressure on people who owe them money.
Ardee Town Councillor Pearse McGeough says the number of people experiencing difficulties paying their mortgages has dramatically increased since the beginning of the year.
“A lot of people are in real trouble,” he said, “and the numbers are increasing.
“People are really worried,” he said.
“At the moment, the banks are not doing what they are supposed to do: provide credit to the economy.
“They do not have the capital, the deposits or the borrowings to allow them to do the business they are designed to do.
“And people who want to start a business and contribute to the economy are prevented from doing so because the banks will not loan them money.
“So the alternative is the dole, the economy fails to grow, and the taxpayer pays out more money.