Newbridge Credit Union Action Group to deliver rescue plan next week

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Former Board of Directors member Breda Reid speaking at the Newbridge Credit Union Action Group meeting at Ryston on Wednesday night.  Photo: Jimmy Fullam.
A rescue plan by a local action group to save Newbridge Credit Union (NCU) from a multi-million euro bailout and merger with its Naas counterpart will be ready by Monday.

A rescue plan by a local action group to save Newbridge Credit Union (NCU) from a multi-million euro bailout and merger with its Naas counterpart will be ready by Monday.

The news was delivered at Wednesday night’s meeting at Ryston Sports and Social Club by members of Newbridge Credit Union Action Group (NCUAG). They informed the partly-filled hall that the Central Bank had “picked on the wrong town” in their attempt to force NCU into “its clutches”.

Attendance was down on previous meetings held by NCUAG, but those who braved the wet night to attend heard that “clock is ticking on the plan”. Once finalised, the alternative rescue plan is to be delivered Minister Noonan and the Central Bank. It was described in very little detail at the meeting. However, members heard that no element of the proposal will involve a risk to members’ savings.

NCUAG Chairman Willie Crowley added that an element of the plan may involve members on a “first come, first served” basis investing in a coupon-style scheme, but he did not elaborate any further.

Members who attended were given a copy of several pages from the draft 2011 accounts, including the income and expenditure, the balance sheet, the cash flow statement, the notice of AGM and the credit committee report.

Members were told that they had been denied the truth and their democratic right to hold an AGM since the appointment of the special manager to NCU 20 months ago. They were told that “clandestine” attempts were made to evict NCU from its, buldiing which was bought and paid for by the members.

MEP Marian Harkin, who was in attendance alongside a number of Kildare TDs and councillors, said she was there because she believed in the credit union ethos.

“I believe in the ethos of the credit union,” she said. “It is a not for profit financial institution that serves the community and it is worth supporting. What is happening in Newbridge is not an isolated incident. We don’t want to see credit unions being forced to merge with another credit union. I am astonished that no information about what is happening has been communicated to the members. It is the secrecy and lack of clairity that gets me.”

Former director Breda Reid got a round of applause from the audience after she delivered a heart-felt speech recalling the past few months since her first online claim that the Board members have been silenced by a gagging order since January 2012.

Frank White, who made it clear he was not there as part of the action group but on his own merits, took the members through key figures dating back to 2005. However this only served to confuse many in the audience who only had the accounts the draft accounts for 2011 in front of them.

Deputy Jack Wall TD said NCU should be allowed to trade out of difficulty.

John Doyle from the audience asked the committee “where do we go from here?” It was agreed that the immediate removal of the gagging order via the High Court was the next step, alongside the deliverance of the action group alternative plan for NCU.