by Alan Jacques
LIMERICK businessman and Green Party election candidate James Gaffney is backing a proposal to create a network of regional, locally owned banks, which would be dedicated to supporting small and medium enterprises.
Under his party’s proposal a bank, owned by the council, would be established with the sole purpose of investing in local small and medium businesses in and around the city.
Mr Gaffney, who is running in the General Election as a Green Party candidate for Limerick City, is of the view that small and medium businesses are the core of the local economy.
An English teacher at Dublin City University (DCU), James feels the city is brimming with entrepreneurial talent and ambition, which needs to be given the means to expand and grow and provide local jobs for local people.
“The availability of local funding from an institution whose focus is to help these small and medium businesses grow would go a long way to bringing more and more vibrant business and enterprise into the city centre, something which is badly needed,” the North Circular Road native explained.
“Limerick cannot depend on continued investment from large multinationals. While investment from these firms and the jobs they provide are of course very welcome, Limerick needs to be given the means to create and grow its own iconic brands and companies.”
According to Mr Gaffney, there are similar examples of locally owned and run State supported banks working very successfully in Germany. The Green Party has met with Department of Finance officials to examine the proposal for feasibility in Ireland.
“The concept of a bank being established with a specific function is not new to the Irish market. As far back as the 1920’s the State created the ACC Bank for the purpose of supporting the agricultural sector and in the 1930’s the ICC bank was established by the State to support industry.
“What we need now is a modern equivalent to the old ICC and ACC banks, which is dedicated to promoting local business in the city. Any profits realised from such investment in local businesses would be re-invested in other local businesses thus allowing the city to remain vibrant and economically self sustaining into the future,” he concluded.