A private meeting held on Wednesday afternoon between the special manager of Newbridge Credit Union (CU) and a number of Kildare South TDs revealed that there are no plans to sell off its landmark building in Newbridge.
“While the special manager Luke Charleton was restricted in giving out certain financial information, he did give an undertaking in relation to the building,” said Deputy Martin Heydon, who attended the meeting alongside Deputies Jack Wall, Anthony Lawlor, Bernard Durkan and Sean O’Fearghail.
“Any decisions on the building would be for the new merged entity [of Naas and Newbridge Credit Unions], should that go ahead. He said that he had no intention of selling the building in his role as special manager. He said his role was in the day-to-day running of the credit union, while any thing to do with the merger is up to the Central Bank”.
According to Deputy Heydon, the meeting heard that the rights of the 40 staff at Newbridge CU will be covered in the proposed merger under EU law.
“The staff will be covered under TUPE law,” he said.
“This is an EU law safeguarding employee rights, and years of service in all circumstances. As soon as Naas CU are in a position, they will come over and talk to the staff. The staff now are as much in the dark about what is happening as anybody else is. The alternative to a merger with Naas is liquidation.”
Deputy Heydon said that the meeting lasted over one hour.
A request from the Leinster Leader to attend the meeting was declined.
Deputy Heydon said the Central Bank’s specific concerns about the level of loan losses in Newbridge Credit Union, and in particular the “non-traditional type lending” practices of the largest credit union in the country at the time requires more clarification.
“We need to know what went wrong,” he added. “And who was at fault. We need full details on what loans were granted and where was the Regulator in all of this.”
It was a time of light touch regulation. We now have changing lending practices.”