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The number of people jailed for illegal money-lending since 2005? Zero

New figures show no-one has been successfully prosecuted over the past seven years, despite the increase in families turning to loan sharks for financial help.

Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

THE NUMBER OF people who have been jailed for illegal money-lending over the past seven years is zero, it has been revealed.

The figure comes despite repeated warnings that there has been a significant increase in the number of families turning to loan sharks for financial help to cope during the recession.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter called on people to give information to the Gardaí to try to secure prosecutions.

“I would encourage all those with specific information concerning the operation of unlicensed moneylenders to make that information available to An Garda Síochána, who I am assured will take all measures open to them to enforce the law in this area,” Minister Shatter said.

Minister Shatter said that there is no record of a successful prosecution for illegal money-lending under the Consumer Credit Act, which regulates money lending.

He told the Dáil that there have been 91 charges for harassment brought under a separate law – the Non-fatal Offences Against the Person Act – which also covers money-lending, but said it should be noted that this offence has ‘wider application’ and that there is no information available about whether any of these cases related to money-lending activities.

The Central Bank has responsibility for the regulation of money-lending in this country.

Anyone found guilty of an offence under the Consumer Credit Act is liable to a fine of up to €3,000 or a prison term of up to 12 months.

A Fine Gael TD warned in March of “countless” moneylending firms operating under the radar of State authorities. Deputy Catherine Byrne said that the illegal loan sharks were charging interest rates of up to 190 per cent and calling to people’s doors to collect money owed.

Call for stronger regulations on moneylenders >

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