Saturday 16 December 2017

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

'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.

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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