Valentia Credit Union set to close

Kevin Hughes

THE announcement that Valentia Island Credit Union is to close next month has angered islanders who say it's another example of the decline in rural services and one that has far reaching consequences for local residents.

A notice at Valentia Island Credit Union this week revealed that the office is to close from October, bringing to an end 24 years of service. The outlet is a sub office of Cahersiveen Credit Union and, contacted by The Kerryman, a statement from the Board of Directors of the Cahersiveen branch said that the decision comes in "much leaner" times.

The comment refers to the fact that the Valentia branch was set up in 1989 during the Celtic Tiger era of expansion and the directors say they had been forced to adapt by reviewing all operations.

"The board discussed the issues at length including the low number of weekly transactions, the health and safety of the staff member who handled cash, without security support, and the cost of providing the service," the statement continued.

Despite the reasons provided, local residents say the loss compounds the increased isolation felt due the loss of further services in the area.

"It's desperately disappointing to see another landmark going, rural Ireland is taking such a bloody hammering," Fionán Murphy stated. A member of Valentia Island Development Co-op who also helped set up the local community centre, Fionán said the announcement has been exacerbated by news of the closure of Island View Hostel this week.

Credit union member Brendan Murphy was equally disheartened. "It's not acceptable and it's just typical of what's happening in rural Ireland," he remarked, adding that members were not consulted in the decision.

The island-based branch had moved into new offices only four years ago but members will now have to make the journey to Cahersiveen.

"The board accepts and understands that members who live in Valentia will be disappointed with the decision but hopes they will now use the services provided in the main office in Cahersiveen," the Board of Directors added.