Newbridge Credit Union: Next move, the High Court

Save Newbridge Credit Union Protest March from Linear Park to Newbridge Credit Union.   Photo. Jimmy Fullam.
An action group set up to save Newbridge Credit Union from a possible merger with Naas has said it will apply for a six month injunction to the High Court this week.

An action group set up to save Newbridge Credit Union from a possible merger with Naas has said it will apply for a six month injunction to the High Court this week.

Outraged members of one the largest community credit union in the country have vowed to take High Court action to stop the Central Bank from forcing it to merge.

“We plan to go to the High Court this week,” said campaign spokesperson Willie Crowley. “We want to put a halt to any deal and apply for an injunction if it is allowed.”

The action group, which was set up after a crisis meeting was held last Wednesday night at Ryston Sports and Social Club, took to the streets to protest against the merger on Saturday. Another meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday at Ryston at 8.30pm while a march to the Central Bank in Dublin is scheduled for Friday with buses leaving at 10am from Newbridge.

“Members have said that they are prepared to go to jail to stop the merger,” he added.

“If we do merge our members [Newbridge] will have a majority in voting terms and we can vote in our own directors to the board and not let them [Naas] have any directors. I am not saying that is what we would do but that is a fact and the members of Naas need to be aware of that.”

In the proposed merger Newbridge would retain a sub-office in the town but would be owned by the combined membership of the two lenders.

The action group has also slammed ‘misleading leaks and propaganda orchestrated by the Central Bank’ ahead of the proposed merger.

A statement released by the action group hit back at claims alledgely leaked by a Central Bank source to a Sunday news paper that other credit unions declined approaches to merge ‘due to concerns about low capital levels and impaired assets at Newbridge’, before Naas agreed in principal to the deal last April.

Meanwhile questions are now being raised over who will pay for the merger and will the merged body inherit the €2m costs of the special manager’s team since their appointment 18 months ago.

If so it is likely that this will come from the €500m, which was set aside by Finance Minister Michael Noonan to recapitalise troubled credit unions that are being merged with stronger ones.

Combining the two credit unions will give a membership of 54,000.

-Paula Campbell