Minister Donohoe addresses credit unions at ILCU AGM 2019
Posted on: 29 Apr 2019
Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD delivered the keynote address to representatives from credit unions across Ireland at AGM on Saturday 27th April.
The Minister told the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) AGM that: “The Government and I are strong supporters of the credit union movement, and we recognise the important role played in society by the credit union sector as volunteer, co-operative financial institutions, helping to sustain the consumer economy with over €2 billion of new lending every year. I believe credit unions can play an even greater role in our economy, by harnessing their co-operative ethos to capitalise on the growing appetite for ethical, financial services in Ireland.”
Also addressing the two-day meeting was EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, Phil Hogan. Speaking about the movement’s importance to the economy and agri sector, Commissioner Hogan said: "The community-led approach of the credit union movement has been fundamental to Ireland's economic development. The central role credit unions played in the economic and financial recovery of the nation cannot be overstated, particularly in relation to maintaining the vitality of the agri-food sector and rural businesses. Looking to the future, I expect credit unions will be a key stakeholder in the all-island economy post-Brexit, and their importance and relevance will only continue to grow in the coming decades".
Journalist and author, Martina Fitzgerald chaired a lively and engaging Q&A session with Minister Donohoe and Commissioner Hogan, where everything from Brexit to Budget 2020 to legislation for credit unions was discussed.
On Sunday 28th April, Gerry Thompson, of Roscommon Credit Union Ltd., was elected as the new ILCU President, taking over from outgoing President, Charles Murphy. Eamonn Sharkey of Omagh Credit Union Ltd. was elected as Vice-President, and Helene McManus of Kilcloon Credit Union Ltd., was elected as Treasurer.
Speaking of his new role, Mr Thompson said: “I am proud and humbled to be elected to this position and very much look forward to working with all our affiliated credit unions, and the broader credit union movement, as they continue to engage in the further development and diversification of services. As a firm believer in the massive potential of credit cooperation to improve people’s lives worldwide, I will work to ensure the unique credit union model of cooperative financial services continues to prosper across Ireland. I am proud of the ILCU’s all-island remit, and aspire to see credit union services ultimately become the first financial choice for all our citizens, both North and South.”
Mr Thompson will lead a board of 12 other directors. The terms of office are two years and all of the board positions are voluntary.
In 2018, loan growth increased substantially across credit unions affiliated to the ILCU. Credit unions had €4.79 billion in loans to members as at end September 2018. Overall loans were up by 7.1% on 2017 levels. This is close to double the loan growth of 3.6% recorded in 2017.
The ILCU is the largest trade and representative association for credit unions in Ireland, and represents over 340 credit unions in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.