Fears that 37 members of staff at Newbridge Credit Union could use lose their jobs in the event of an amalgamation with Naas Credit Union were expressed at a meeting on Tuesday night.
The meeting of Naas Credit Union members, chaired by Donal Higgins, attracted about 70 people to the Town House Hotel, Naas,
By far the most vocal contributors to what was, at times, an ill-tempered gathering were members of Newbridge CU.
A number of Newbridge members sought support from Naas members in their campaign to prevent a merger between the two bodies.
Naas Credit Union has not yet consulted its members on the issue, but has expressed interest in a merger to the Central Bank.
The Naas board was not represented at the meeting, although Naas Credit Union chairman Peter Fullam issued a statement saying that Naas CU “will not interfere in the internal” affairs of a sister credit union.
Nevertheless, a number of Newbridge CU members urged Naas account holders to press for an extraordinary general meeting of Naas CU at which the proposed merger could be discussed.
Mr. Higgins told the gathering that there is a “serious lack” of information from the credit unions and the Central Bank.
“Naas Credit Union is a great organisation and very well run, but a merger is a very big step. The lack of information and dialogue is concerning and we are just looking for engagement,” said Mr. Higgins.
Some speakers, notably Morgan McCabe, criticised elements of the Leinster Leader’s coverage of the issue.
Newbridge Credit Union Action Group chairman Willie Crowley described himself as an “ordinary member”, and said Naas CU should be concerned about what’s proposed. He described the dearth of information as a wall of silence and a “threat to democracy.”
He believes that the merger is a template for what will happen all over Ireland and the aim is for the banks to get their hands of money held in credit union accounts.
Sinn Fein representative Mark Lynch said, in the event of a merger, Naas members would be outvoted and the quality of service provided to members could deteriorate.
“This would create a credit union of 50,000 people which will be too big and credit unions were not designed for this,” said Mr. Lynch.
Both Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor and Naas councillor Rioghnagh Bracken were verbally attacked when they questioned elements of lending policies at Newbridge Credit Union.
Full report in next Tuesday’s Leinster Leader