A culture of money lending in Clare has been described as “insidious and ruthless” by a leading Garda official.
Clarecastle representative, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) speaking at a recent meeting of the Clare Joint Policing Committee detailed that within the county, “money lending is intertwined with drugs”. He called it “a cancer in our community”.
“What is the story with the regulation of these money lenders, are they all illegal? Who approves the application process, what is the cost of registering? How many registered money lenders are there in Clare,” Murphy asked
Superintendent John Galvin confirmed investigations regarding money lending were ongoing. “We had one very high profile investigation in Kilrush, CAB were involved and are still involved in some aspects of that case”. He added that CAB also assisted into a similar investigation in Ennis.
Galvin stated, “Money lending is tied hand in hand with drugs” and noted that the investigations surrounding the area were “complex”. “It operates in a world of secrecy and fear,” he noted of the particular criminal activity and labelled it as “insidious and ruthless”. “If anybody is aware of somebody who is a victim of a moneylender of under pressure from a moneylender, talk to us, we need the co-operation of the people, we will give them anonymity and confidentiality but we need that information”.
Cllr Murphy requested that the parish of Clarecastle be trialled by An Garda Síochána to clamp down on crime as he commended the work of officials including Tríona Brooks and Denis Collins. “Despite being black and white we in Clarecastle are a suburb of Ennis, drugs, money lending and illegal parking are major issues”.
He requested that traffic wardens ticket motorists guilty of illegal parking in the village. “We need more CCTV, illegal dumping and fly-tipping are huge issues, our volunteers and tidy towns people are getting burnt out. I was listening to Joe Duffy the other day, I wouldn’t be a fan of his I think he is whinge to be honest but someone said it and I think they are right, we need the country to go cashless, if there was no cash and everything was done by card it would solve the money lending”.
On the prospect of a cashless society, Chief Superintendent Seán Colleran commented, “Economic fraud becoming more a problem in society, an awful lot of that is cashless”.