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President Michael D Higgins welcomes ILCU delegation to Áras and Uachtaráin

Posted on: 21 Oct 2021

To mark International Credit Union Day, President Michael D Higgins invited a delegation from the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) to visit with him at Áras an Uachtaráin. ILCU President, Helene McManus was accompanied by Vice President Michael Byrne, Treasurer Margaret Heffernan, and ILCU CEO Ed Farrell. The ILCU also invited a representative from Community Credit Union (Michael Branagan), in whose common bond Áras an Uachtaráin sits, to accompany them.

As the movement celebrates the 73rd International Credit Union Day, the representatives from the ILCU spoke to President Higgins about the importance of the movement for generations of Irish people, and how the ethos of the movement is grounded in the not-for-profit, member owned philosophy and centred on people helping people.

Speaking to President Higgins, ILCU President Helene McManus detailed how important the credit union has been in the lives of many, as a voluntary, community based, democratic movement. Helene also described how credit unions are a social movement with a financial purpose, not a financial institution with a social programme.

International Credit Union Day 2021 is a celebration of the impact credit unions have made—and continue to make for their members. It is also a chance to celebrate the lives and communities that have been improved by the movement. Community, commitment and positive economic and social change are just some of the ways that credit unions differ from traditional for-profit banks and other financial institutions.
ILCU Treasurer Margaret Heffernan spoke to President Higgins about the impact of credit unions, not just on the island of Ireland, but across the world. The work of the ILCU International Development Foundation across Sierra Leone, the Gambia and other regions has ensured that people across the world have access to equitable and affordable finance.

As a long-time supporter of the credit union movement, and a member of St Anthony’s & Claddagh Credit Union in Galway, President Higgins spoke of the importance for the movement in continuing to provide equitable financial services and products for members, for generations to come. He also highlighted the benefits of cooperative movements to the whole of society and the role credit unions, as financial cooperatives, can play in helping to solve the housing crisis.