Monday 16 January 2017

David McWilliams: We just can't afford to lose the vital services of credit unions

Published 13/11/2013 | 02:00

'Teenage Kicks' wouldn't have been recorded without the Credit Union. It's hard to imagine Derry without the Undertones. Today Derry is a very different place to the Derry of the mid-1970s when the band formed but, for this visitor, Derry and The Undertones still go together. And it wouldn't have happened without a £400 loan from the very credit union that John Hume set up in 1960 – the first ever in Ireland.

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Looking out from the city walls over the Peace Bridge towards the Waterside, the Foyle flat and translucent in the crisp morning sun, the city looks photoshop pretty. This is a 21st Century Facebook Derry, basking in the final moments of the Year of Culture – miles away from the black-and-white, rented television Derry of my childhood.

Back then, Derry was a failed place where unfortunate "keyholders" were advised by UTV newsflashes to return to their premises; but it also had the unambiguous success of a few young lads from the Bogside on 'Top of the Pops', singing about teenage promise, some bloke called 'Jimmy Jimmy', the excitement of the summer and know-all cousins who "flicked the kick" at Subutteo.

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