Sinn Féin call for IT training to be offered to parents of students in remote education

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said that the government must recognise the important role being played by parents with regards to distance learning. 
 
MacManus highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many parents and children using technologies for the first time, in order to access education, and said that supports must be in place for parents who may not have a high level of computer skills.
 
The Midlands Northwest MEP said:
 
“Recently we voted on a non-legislative report on digital education policy. The report highlighted many of the disparities between the 27 EU states and within the countries themselves in terms of digital skills. Worryingly, the report highlighted that 42 per cent of EU citizens still lack even basic digital skills.”
 
“We need our government to recognise the increasingly important role parents and families are playing when it comes to education and distance learning. This should be done by both facilitating access to new technologies, but also support and training for teachers, learners and parents, in how to use these technologies. These supports are vital to ensure no learners are disadvantaged as we progress further into the age of online education.”

Sinn Féin MEP calls for a ban on Moneylenders using social media to decide on loans

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has called for moneylenders to be banned from using social media as a means of deciding on the credit worthiness of applicants.

MacManus was commenting after a major European report singled out a specific Irish moneylender for using this practice. The report from Finance Watch quotes Provident’s own website as stating “ As part of our ongoing commitment to understanding our customers better, we sometimes research comments and opinions made public on social media sites. We sometimes also match information on these sites with the data we hold to undertake behavioral analysis and assist with credit decisioning.”
 
MacManus said:
 
“It is shocking that a moneylender can openly admit to using social media as a means of deciding on credit worthiness. Unfortunately, as the report points out a lack of detail in EU legislation in this area means they can get away with this.
 
“The use of social media in assessing credit worthiness raises many issues of data protection. There is of course a question of basic ethics here.

“Furthermore, it also suggests that the decision making process is not adhering to any rational and accountable factors. In short, relying on social media can and will lead to bad credit decisions and consequent difficulties for borrowers.

“I support the report’s call for “detailed rules in the CCD (Consumer Credit Directive) concerning which specific information that should be used to perform a creditworthiness assessment. The assessment should be based only on information needed to allow for an adequate personal budget analysis (data on income and expenditures), including all on-going credit and debts.”
 
“I will be raising this issue with the Central Bank and the EU Commission immediately. Sinn Féin is championing legislation to cap moneylenders’ rates but as this European report show that is only one of the problems with how moneylenders operate in Ireland.  Change at state and EU level will help ordinary workers get fair credit at a fair price.”