Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Building Society Loan Purposes.

Thursday, 19 July 1973

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 267 No. 9

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12.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  asked the Minister for Local Government if he is satisfied that building societies are not advancing loans for purposes other than private dwellings; and if he will state the means employed to ensure compliance with the regulations on this matter.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  One of the conditions attached to the Government subvention to building societies which was introduced on the 23rd May is that it will be payable only to societies which maintain an embargo on lending for purposes other than housing, although loans for non-housing purposes to which a society were inescapably committed on the 23rd May may be made without prejudicing their claim to the subvention. It is intended that the arrangements for payment of the subvention to each society will provide for due certification of compliance with the relevant conditions.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Is this practice of the building societies of supplying loans for purposes other than house building in accordance with the laws relating to building societies?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  Yes, but very little has, in fact, been advanced for other purposes. They have now been told that they will not get their subvention from the Government unless they keep up the amount for housing. I can give the Deputy the percentage figures for lending: house lending in 1966, 92.3 per cent of the total; 1967, 92 per cent; 1968, 93.8 per cent; 1969, 94 per cent; 1970, 95.3 per cent; 1971, 93.1 per cent; and 1972, 95 per cent.

[1447]Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Is it not a fact that there are regulations relating to building societies and their rights? The purpose of building societies was to provide loans for houses for the working classes. That was the original regulation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy may not make a statement.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Is this not a fact and are they not in contravention of these regulations by virtue of lending money for purposes other than house building?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  In relation to the discussions which the Minister had with the building societies on 23rd May, the subventions they will get will be payable only to societies which maintain an embargo on lending for purposes other than housing.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Therefore it is acknowledged that they were in breach of the regulations?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  No. The new subvention given to them by the Government on 23rd May bears the condition that they must lend money for housing.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Would the Minister for Local Government look into the regulations under which the building societies were set up?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  I will convey the Deputy's remarks to my colleague.

Mr. R.P. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  The figure the Minister gave was for all of the building societies. He has not got a breakdown of the specific societies which have been allocating a hell of a lot more than the percentage quoted here?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  I am afraid I have not, no.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I just want elucidation of something said earlier that I did not catch, in regard to the new subvention. Will the Minister repeat that?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  As indicated in discussions with representatives of the [1448] principal building societies on 23rd May, a subvention will be payable only to societies which maintain an embargo on lending for purposes other than housing. In other words, we are directing all their efforts towards housing.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  In other words if a building society wishes to qualify for this subvention they may not lend to anybody except for the purchase of a house?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  They will get no subvention if they do.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  Arising——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We have to move on. There is a large number of questions on the Order Paper. I want to assist Deputies in having their own questions answered.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  This is a very important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  They all are.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  How is it that when a Deputy supporting the Government asks a question he gets a full and detailed reply and when a member of the Opposition asks one——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This is not a relevant supplementary at all.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  I have been endeavouring here today to give absolutely every piece of information I possibly could.


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