Executives on €50k trip to conference amid crisis
THE forced closure of the credit union in Berehaven has taken place at a time when a number of senior executives of the representative body for the movement are at a conference on Australia's Gold Coast.
Berehaven Credit Union is a member of the Irish League of Credit Unions, a representative body for the movement. The league also runs a multi-million euro rescue fund for troubled credit unions which was to be used to fund the failed merger of Berehaven in Castletownbere in Co Cork with nearby Bantry CU. But the Cork credit union was shut down by order of the High Court while a number of senior league officials were Down Under.
Nine board members of the league and its chief executive Kieron Brennan are among those who made the 33,000km round trip to the Australian coast.
The league admitted that costs of sending the delegates to the World Credit Union conference is around €50,000, which covers airfares and hotel stays.
Along with the nine board members of the league and Mr Brennan, one other league staff member, a member of the supervisory committee of the league, and two scholarship winners have travelled to the conference.
Asked if spouses of league officials were attending, a spokeswoman said three spouses were on the five-day trip, but one of these travelled as a carer for a board member.
She was unable to confirm if one West of Ireland credit union had sent four people to Australia.
"If a credit union decides to send delegates to the World Council of Credit Unions conference, that is their own decision. This cost is not covered by the Irish League of Credit Unions," she said.