Gardai stop Newbridge Credit Union protest

Protest organiser Jason Turner speaks to a Garda at Newbridge  Credit Union. Photo:Michael Donnelly.
Gardai were called to the second of a number of planned protests that took place at Newbridge Credit Union on Friday, May 3 after allegations of intimidation were made from front line staff.

Gardai were called to the second of a number of planned protests that took place at Newbridge Credit Union on Friday, May 3 after allegations of intimidation were made from front line staff.

The protestors, who were asked to take the protest outside by gardai, entered the credit union to hand in a series of detailed questions in a letter addressed to the special manager Luke Charleton of Ernst & Young. The protestors are also seeking a meeting with the special manager next Friday.

“We are looking for the answers to a few simple questions,” said protest organiser Jason Turner of Tuas Nua.

“Why have we not been allowed hold an AGM, why there has been no dividends paid in the last two years, and also almost 2 million has been paid in wages and expenses?”

The letter, which was handed in at a reception, refused at first but accepted on the second attempt.

“The members then proceeded to get in the line some to pay their accounts and ask the tellers could they speak to this manager who has not been seenby any member or responded to their questions,” he added.

“The staff were very polite and explained that any questions had to be asked through an e-mail which is what they were told to say. I explained a lot of people do not have access to a computer and as regards the messages that were sent in there has been no reply.”

Meanwhile one eye witness and credit union member, R Kavanagh, who was also in line at the time told a different account of events of the protest in a letter sent to the Leinster Leader.

“They [the protestors] stormed over to the poor girls on the counters with photographers, took pictures of the staff and hounded them very badly with questions. The young lady who served me was shaking so badly she had to be taken away from the counter.” the letter read. It also read that the protestors “should be ashamed of themselves’ for terrorising innocent people in the threatening, intimidating manner they did today [Friday]. It highligted that the frontline staff have taken a ‘battering off people since the manager was put in place’ and it concluded that ‘the majority of members do not want this type of behaviour of attacking the staff constantly’.

Although these allegations were denied by Mr Turner, who maintained that everyone was polite at all times, he admitted that he has since returned to the credit union and apologised to staff.

“I have since gone in to the credit union,” he said.

“I apologised if people perceived that the protest is about the staff because it is not. This protest is not aimed at them but at the Central Bank and the manager they put in place. When the members have to cough up 2 million euro for a man they have never seen, who does not answer questions, will not allow an AGM, and will not explain where the members dividends are gone that is intimidation.”

- Paula Campbell