Trio in a league of their own
Tribute on canvas to movement founders
From humble beginnings, it became one of the most successful financial institutions in the state.
Yesterday, the founders of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) were immortalised on canvas.
As part of the celebrations for its 50th anniversary, a painting of the three founders – Sean Forde, Nora Herlihy and Seamus P MacEoin – was unveiled in their memory.
In 1958, the three came together to pool their small financial resources and form the credit union movement to provide financial services for all.
Yesterday, the ILCU unveiled a pictorial history charting every year of its existence.
Unveiling the portrait of the three founders was Nobel Laureate John Hume, a founder member of the first Northern Ireland credit union in Derry.
The longest established credit union was based in Donore Avenue, Dublin 8, and opened in April 1958 with the first weekly collection yielding just Ir£7. Now Irish credit unions have €13.4bn of savings and €15.1bn in assets.
Also present yesterday was Nora Herlihy’s niece, RTE broadcaster Marian Finucane.
“Nora was a very determined woman who had already formed the Dublin Central Co-operative Society in 1954 with Sean, Seamus and others,” said Ms Finucane.
Mr Hume said the credit union movement had been “the most successful cooperative movement in the history of Ireland”.
The portrait, by artist Jim Harkin, was unveiled yesterday at the offices of the ILCU in Dublin.
A number of events are planned for the anniversary of the movement including the production of special commemorative stamps and a schools competition for students to promote the credit union in their areas.