IN a first of its kind, all the credit unions and TDs in West Cork recently held a (virtual) meeting to discuss the expanding role that credit unions can play in their communities in the coming years.
The four West Cork credit unions were represented at the meeting by the chairperson and the manager/CEO of each organisation: Access (Leo O’Driscoll and Elma Casey), Bantry (Eddie Mullins and Finbarr O’Shea), Clonakilty (Arran O’Driscoll and Anthony Forde) and Dunmanway (Henry Duggan and Ted O’Shea).
Collectively, the four credit unions have over 55,000 members and total assets of over €300m.
Deputies Holly Cairns (SD), Michael Collins (Ind) and Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) were united in expressing their support for the work that credit unions do in their communities and the vital services they provide.
Explaining the reason they requested the meeting, the credit union representatives said there was ‘a golden opportunity at present for a step change in the role credit unions play in local communities and the local economy’.
They said the credit unions have the appetite and the capacity to fill the space being vacated by the banks in rural Ireland.
But in order to do this they need an enabling and developmental framework at national policy level.
The TDs pledged their support for this position and said they fully understand and support the valuable service that credit unions already provide in their communities.