The Board of Directors of Naas Credit Union (CU) will have the ultimate say on behalf of the members as to whether or not the controversial merger with Newbridge will get their approval.
Naas CU members were urged by Newbridge Credit Union Action Group at a silent protest outside the building on Friday to fight to prevent the merger from taking place.
“Make your feelings known to your directors who are making this decision on your behalf,” a statement from the Action Group said.
“Democracy has been the first victim in this fiasco.”
The Action Group, which was set up recently to keep Newbridge CU in the town, maintains that their credit union is financially viable to stand on its own and is opposed to the merger.
Naas Credit Union spokesperson Pat Keating said that, while it acknowledged Friday’s protest,it would be inappropriate to comment “in relation to the business of a neighbouring credit union”.
He added that the proposed merger remained subject to Naas Board approval, amongst other requirements, under the 2011 Act.
A spokesperson from the Central Bank, Ronan Sheridan, said the board of directors were elected on behalf of members to make major decisions for the future of Naas Credit Union.
“It will ultimately be their decision whether or not to go ahead with the proposal,” he said.
“If this combination is approved, we expect that credit union services will continue to develop and grow within the community, ensuring a strong and successful future.
“All credit union members would hold full membership rights in a combined credit union, including to a dividend, should one be paid.”
A well-attended protest by the Newbridge Action Group took place outside the Central Bank and Ernst & Young Headquarters in Dublin on Friday.
This was followed up by a protest outside Newbridge Credit Union on Saturday.
There was unconfirmed speculation locally that there was a mini-run on Newbridge Credit Union as some members initially took savings out amid the merger proposal – despite reassurance from the Central Bank that all funds up to €100K were State guaranteed.
The Central Bank’s Registrar of Credit Unions, Sharon Donnery, told the Leinster Leader last week that there was no viable future for Newbridge Credit Union as a stand-alone entity, unless it was merged with Naas at a cost of tens of millions to the tax player.
Finance minister Michael Noonan has set aside €500m to recapitalise struggling Credit Unions that are being merged with more financially stable ones.
She added that once the merger has taken place, an AGM can finally be called, and the long-overdue accounts for Newbridge from 2011 onwards will have to be published.
“Ultimately, if the merger goes ahead, the accounts will have to be published,” she said. “The underlying issues will appear.”
Meanwhile protestors took to the streets of Newbridge on Saturday, August 10 last to protest outside the landmark credit union.
l Special reports pages 8 and 9 of this week’s Leinster Leader
– Protest at Central Bank
– Meeting in Newbridge
– See video of meeting and protests at www.leinsterleader.ie