New head of Credit Union movement voted in after election delay
Published 27/04/2015 | 02:30
A teacher who secured a High Court injunction delaying the selection of a new president for the Irish League of Credit Unions has himself been elected to head the league.
In a move that is expected to lead to a major overhaul of how the organisation runs, Brian McCrory was yesterday elected president - with just six votes to spare.
The election had to be delayed for a day at the weekend's AGM of the league because of a High Court injunction preventing the casting of ballots.
The row erupted after the Irish Independent revealed details of a draft report into concerns about a multi-million euro rescue fund used to rescue troubled credit unions.
The league is made up of 350 credit unions and is the largest representative body for the sector. It also owns and controls the Savings Protection Scheme (SPS).
Outgoing vice-president Blanche Ronayne had been expected to win the contest. She had also chaired the league sub-committee that oversees and operates the SPS.
In a statement issued to the Irish Independent, Mr McCrory committed himself to a major revamp of how the league operates.
"I offered myself as a candidate proposing reform. Over the coming months I will be setting out plans for a comprehensive review of how the Irish League of Credit Unions operates," he said.
He said his priority would be a review of the SPS. The fund has committed €84.9m to bail out 48 credit unions, with another €80m in uncommitted funds.
Controversy erupted last week when details were revealed of a draft report by accountancy specialist Mazars that raised concerns about the bail-out fund.
The Mazars report indicated that €13m in credit union funds may have been put at risk, and suggested some credit unions were getting funding despite not being in trouble.
The revelations dominated proceedings at the league AGM in Killarney over the weekend, which was attended by 1,200 delegates. Mr McCrory had sought the injunction preventing the elections late last Friday night over claims that an email responding to the publication of the Mazars findings, signed by outgoing league president Martin Sisk and acting chief executive Ed Farrell, had undermined his electoral chances.
The email was sent to all league credit unions and claimed the leaking of the Mazars report on the bail-out fund was part of an attempt to influence the league's electoral process.
The elections were only able to go ahead when the league issued a humiliating retraction to Mr McCrory.
In a statement read out to delegates, the league's board admitted Mr McCrory had suffered "grievous reputational damage" in the email.
The statement read: "The circulation seriously damaged and impugned the integrity of Mr McCrory and as such it is a cause of great regret.
"The league board accepts, without reservations, that Mr McCrory in offering himself as a candidate for the position of president of the ILCU (Irish League of Credit Unions) has suffered grievous reputational damage by inference resulting from the offending circulation."
Mr McCrory received a round of applause from delegates when he told them the injunction had been lifted, telling them he had "put his house on the line" in seeking the injunction.
The league agreed to pay his costs.