The Nigel Farage bank episode in the UK shows that Ireland should legislate to guarantee the right to a bank account, according to Workers’ Party representative Garrett Greene.

The Cabra-Glasnevin representative argued for legislation to prevent banks from refusing bank accounts, saying:
“In 2011, the EU issued non-binding recommendations to banks to ensure everybody had access to an account. These have been proven to be entirely ineffective. For many decades, banks have been able to penalise those on low incomes by denying them personal bank accounts.”

“The experience of UK politician Nigel Farage demonstrates that this practice has now expanded. Banks currently have a unilateral, unaccountable power to withhold banking services from any citizen, without explanation.”

“A bank should not be setting the rules for who can and cannot hold a bank account. This power should rest solely with the state.”

Greene said:
“A bank account is not a luxury good. Denying somebody a bank account in many instances denies them access to employment, to essential services paid for through direct debit, and to prevent the individual from effectively managing their personal finances.”

“In short, without a bank account an individual is unable to properly participate in society.”

Greene concluded:
“The Workers’ Party holds no common ground with a politician like Nigel Farage. Nonetheless, for socialists, who are fully opposed to the banking status quo, it is of great concern that, currently, we are at the mercy of financial institutions.”

“To fully ensure democratic control of personal finances, we must establish a public banking system. In the short term, we are calling for legislation to prevent a bank from unilaterally denying anybody a bank account.”