'Any day that a business closes and jobs are lost is a black day'
FOR decades the credit union in Castletownbere has helped to support west Cork fishermen and agriculture.
Now the community is stunned by the wind-up of Berehaven Credit Union following a failed four-year battle to save it.
Berehaven credit union traditionally catered for members on the isolated Beara Peninsula, including communities in Castletownbere, Bere Island, Allihies, Adrigole, Ardgroom and Eyeries.
Local fishermen described the credit union closure as "a disaster".
Castletownbere supermarket operator Chris Downey said it was "a horrible day for the community". "Of course it is a tough day – any day that a business closes and jobs are lost is a black day for the entire community," he said.
"It means another 'closed' or 'for let' sign over a premises in the town and that is not good for anyone."
Castletownbere Business Development Association (CBDA) said it was "an appalling day" for the town but declined to comment further until all court proceedings are concluded.
West Cork TD and Castletownbere resident Noel Harrington said the loss of the credit union was a serious blow for the town. Six staff, including full and part-time workers, will lose their jobs as a result of the winding up order.
Panicked Berehaven Credit Union customers queued outside the branch until reassured that all deposits were safe and will be repaid.
Queues formed outside the Castletownbere credit union before lunch, as the outlet closed following the shock news of the High Court winding up order, and again in the afternoon as savers attempted to withdraw cash and also sought assurances about how and when deposits would be paid.