THE Annual Report of Chapter 23 of the Irish League of Credit Unions (Kerry and West Limerick) has been officially launched at their AGM.
Declan Malone, editor of The Kerryman, was present to launch the report in the Carlton Hotel in Tralee last Thursday night.
In his address to delegates, Mr Malone highlighted the commitment of Credit Unions to its members, especially in today's difficult economic times.
"In my view though, your greatest strength lies in your core value of commitment to community and to the ordinary people who are struggling to make ends meet," he said.
"At this point in time, Ireland has had a bellyful of greedy banks, lying politicians and false promises. They want something that is real, that they can trust and that will be there for them in times of need. The Credit Unions answer this call -– not as some kind of handy marketing ploy, but because there is a genuine commitment to helping people," Declan Malone remarked.
"Most of all you should remember that the Credit Union Movement was designed and built for weathering difficult times. Now that we have that perfect storm, you at least have the comfort of facing it in a good ship," The Kerryman editor added.
Declan Malone also commented on Credit Unions' place and motivation within local communities.
"When I think about the Credit Union movement, one of the first words that comes to mind is ' community'. The community, the local people who are the lifeblood of an area, and providing a service to them is what the Credit Union is all about. Unlike mainstream financial institutions, the motive isn't profit – or plain greed as we have more recently come to know it. Nor are the Credit Unions aren't driven by a desire for self-advancement. Instead, they exist for the purpose of providing a service to the communities in which they're based," he said.
"I've seen examples of this in action in the Kerry Community Awards, which is a hugely successful scheme for rewarding and paying tribute to voluntary organisations from around the county. The Credit Union, along with The Kerryman and various other organisations including the county council, is involved in the Community Awards and we work very well together at it. The Community Awards have nothing to do with banking or money making and it's clear to me from working with the Credit Union people who are involved that the Credit Union isn't involved just for the sake of the PR value either. Instead it's down to pure and simple community involvement, which, if I may say so, is a very valuable asset to the county," Mr Malone emphasised.
Speaking to The Kerryman recently, Christy Killeen, Chairperson of Chapter 23, said the movement's branches in Kerry and West Limerick were in good shape and not experiencing the dire difficulties that have hit individual branches elsewhere in the country.
"In keeping with the times we're in every credit union is experiencing some difficulties, but in general the credit unions in Kerry are in reasonably good shape," Mr Killeen said.
As far as I'm aware, and I know the scene here fairly well, we're all very happy here in Kerry," the chapter chairman remarked.