9 December 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Two of the founding members of Monaghan Credit Union were honoured with presentations at the organisation’s 50th anniversary Annual General Meeting in the Four Seasons Hotel on Tuesday evening.
Tommy Crowe and Celestine Macklin received a prolonged ovation from the large attendance as they were feted for their pivotal contribution to the establishment of the savings movement in the town in 1961.
Credit Union Chairman Ronnie Gillanders told the AGM that a similar presentation would be made to the third surviving founding father of the organisation, Sean Clerkin, at a later date.
Addressing the annual meeting, Mr Macklin spoke of his pleasure at seeing Monaghan Credit Union grow from nothing to what it was today. He said that “thirteen solid men” had set out with a vision of what the Credit Union could turn out to be in the town.
“Things were not any better then than they are now,” he recalled of the prevailing economic climate at the time of the movement’s inception in the county town. “You couldn’t get tuppence off the banks, and a lot of people were tied up with hire purchase or moneylenders.”
Mr Macklin said that people had come to the Credit Union in those early days to obtain loans to purchase the things that took the drudgery out of ordinary everyday living. People realised at the time that the Credit Union was the way to go.
Paying affectionate tribute to the contribution made to the movement in Monaghan in its early days by staff members Margaret Brady and Mary McLernon, Mr Macklin thanked the people of Monaghan and Ireland for having faith in their Credit Unions.
“A lot of people said it would never work, but the committee and the directors had faith in what it could do for the people,” Mr Macklin stated.
A picture of solid financial health against the current difficult economic backdrop was presented to the members present at the Annual General Meeting, with Chairman Mr Gillanders in his report pledging that the movement in Monaghan would continue to provide a safe environment for members to save and borrow.
Auditor Graham Burke told the AGM that Monaghan Credit Union was in a very strong position, with substantial reserves.
Director of the Irish League of Credit Unions Michael Dowd said he was both proud and humble to be present “to salute the heroes and pioneers of your past 50 years.” He described the founder members of the movement in Monaghan as very brave people, who had stepped into the unknown in much more uncertain times than they knew today.
Mr Dowd said Credit Unions were serving a unique sector of the Irish financial landscape by making credit available to people who could afford it, unlike unscrupulous moneylenders who set out to ensure that they got a prime cut of a person’s income.
“Once you are caught in the grip of moneylenders, you will probably remain forever in their grasp,” he warned.
A full report on the proceedings of Monaghan Credit Union’s 50th AGM will appear in our next edition.

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