Tánaiste Joan Burton and MoS Kevin Humphreys launch small-loan scheme to combat moneylenders

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Tánaiste Joan Burton T.D., and the Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys T.D., today (26 November 2015) formally launched the Personal Microcredit Scheme to help eligible borrowers struggling to access low-cost credit and thereby combat moneylenders.

The scheme, which has been driven by Minister Humphreys, will operate on a pilot basis for the next six months in more than thirty Credit Unions.

The scheme will see participating Credit Unions offer a new “It Makes Sense” loan to eligible borrowers who may otherwise be unable to access low cost credit. The pilot scheme is open to social welfare recipients who collect their payment in cash at a Post Office and have access to the Household Budgeting Scheme as the loan repayment method. The loan value will range from €100 to a maximum of €2,000. The interest rate will be not more than 12% (APR 12.68%).

Speaking at the event, Minister Humphreys said: “The lack of access to low-cost credit for individuals and low-income households has long been a cause of concern and I am delighted to welcome this pilot scheme which will provide local, easily accessible and low-cost loans to those who need them. While this is a pilot scheme, the aim is to learn from the pilot and make any required adjustments before moving to a full national roll-out. In addition, learning from the pilot will inform the further development of the scheme so that it can serve a wider audience who currently find themselves unable to avail of low cost credit.” 

The Tánaiste said: “We developed this scheme to both assist low-income households and combat moneylenders at the same time. We know full well the exorbitant and punitive rates charged by many moneylenders for which there is no justification. This scheme is an important step in combating that situation, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, a financially difficult time for many households. While this pilot only provides for small loans to social welfare recipients who are paid in cash at post offices, I am confident we will be able to roll it out on a phased basis for low-income households not in receipt of social welfare, and for social welfare recipients who receive their payments electronically. I am confident that all the stakeholders will rise to that challenge and I look forward to the scheme being extended to a wider range of borrowers who find themselves unable to access low cost credit.”

Paying tribute to the participating Credit Unions, Minister Humphreys said: “I want to thank all Credit Unions which volunteered to be part of this initiative. I want to acknowledge the commitment and effort invested in the development of the Scheme.” 

Minister Humphreys also acknowledged the important role played by An Post. “I also want to acknowledge An Post’s role in the development of the scheme by facilitating repayment of loans through the Household Budgeting facility which it operates on behalf of the Department of Social Protection.”

The Pilot will be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis and it is intended that it will be rolled out to Credit Unions nationwide in 2016.


Note for Editors

In late 2013 Citizens Information Board (CIB) submitted a proposal to the Minister for Social Protection regarding the need to develop a scheme to assist those on low incomes who are unable to access low cost credit. The proposal followed a period of discussions with interested stakeholders including MABS, Credit Union organisations, non-governmental organisations and the Social Finance Foundation on the growing number of people availing of moneylenders, in the absence of an alternative low cost personal loan scheme.

The new scheme is the result of extensive and constructive engagement between a range of stakeholders including the Citizens Information Board, MABS, the Social Finance Foundation, the Department of Social Protection, Department of Finance, Central Bank of Ireland, Irish League of Credit Unions, Credit Unions Development Association, Credit Union Managers Association, An Post, and non–governmental organisations represented by St Vincent de Paul, to progress the development of a Personal Micro Credit Scheme. 

The scheme is aimed at moving people away from the use of high cost moneylenders. It will provide convenient access to low cost personal loans and the opportunity to become fully fledged credit union members, thus availing of the benefits of such membership.

The availability of the Scheme is being publicised at local level by the Credit Unions taking part in the pilot, at post offices, MABS offices and by local voluntary organisations.

List of credit unions participating in the Personal Microcredit Pilot scheme and offering It Makes Sense loans:


Credit Union




Health Services Staffs Credit Union (HSSCU)

34-36 St. Patrick's Quay
Tel: 01 677 8648 or
Lo Call 1890 677 864
for callers outside Dublin.



Skibbereen Credit Union

Credit Union House
13 Main St, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
Tel: 028 21883



The Lough Credit Union

Main Office
100-103 Bandon Rd, Cork
Tel: 021 496 3384

Togher Office
Shournagh Lawn, Togher, Cork
Tel: 021 496 3384



Ballyfermot Credit Union

280 Ballyfermot Rd
Dublin 10
Tel: 01 6265 458



Core Credit Union

Ballybrack Office
33 Church Rd, Glenageary, Ballybrack, Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 2827740

Dalkey Office
13A Castle St, Dalkey,
Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 2853366

Shankill Office
Main Street, Shankill,
Dublin 18.
Tel: 01 2823777

Sallynoggin Glenageary Office
8 Church Place, Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 2855681

Glasthule/Dún Laoghaire Office,
4 Sussex Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Tel: 01 280 0791



Finglas Credit Union

Seamus Ennis Rd
Finglas, Dublin 11
Tel: 01 834 3193



Health Services Staffs Credit Union (HSSCU)

5 High Street, Christchurch, Dublin 8
Phoenix View,
144-150 James's Street,
Dublin 8

34-36 St. Patrick's Quay, Cork
Tel: 01 677 8648 or
Lo Call 1890 677 864
for callers outside Dublin.



Meath Street Credit Union

137 Thomas St, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 6704087



Rathfarnham & District Credit Union

Credit Union House, Main Street, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Tel: 01 490 0162

Unit 25, Nutgrove Shopping Centre, Dublin 14
Tel: 01 495 4833

46 Fortfield Park, Terenure, Dublin 6
Tel: 01 4902565



Castlecomer Credit Union

86 Kilkenny Street, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny
Tel: 056 4441368



St. Canice's Kilkenny Credit Union

Main Office, 78 High Street, Kilkenny
Tel: 056 77 22042

MacDonagh Junction Sub Office, No 27 Goodshed Square, MacDonagh Junction S.C., Kilkenny
Tel: 056 77 22042

Dunnamaggin Office, Dunnamaggin, Co.Kilkenny
Tel: 056 77 28408

Durrow (Co Laois), Mary Street, Durrow, Co. Laois
Tel: 057 8736522

Email: loans@stcanicescu.ie



St Dominic Credit Union Limited

Mooncoin Office, Kilkenny
Tel:051 873 867



Cois Sionna Credit Union Limited

Tarbert, Co Kerry
Tel: 068 36440



Tralee Credit Union

45-47 Ashe St, Tralee
Tel: 066 712 2373
67 Main Street, Castleisland
Tel: 066 714 1749

Mill Road, Killorglin
Tel: 066 976 1502



Killarney Credit Union Ltd

Head Office, Beech Rd, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Tel: 064 663 1344

Park Road Branch, Park Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Tel: 064 6637800

Kenmare Branch, Killarney Road, Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Tel: 064 6642111



Portlaoise Credit Union

James Fintan Lawlor Avenue, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Tel: 057 8622594

Abbeyleix Office, Main Street, Abbeyleix, County Laois
Tel: 057 873 1844



St. Canice's Kilkenny Credit Union

Durrow, Mary Street, Durrow, Co. Laois

Tel: 057 8736522
Email: loans@stcanicescu.ie


Last modified:26/11/2015