Saturday, April 02, 2016

Nora Herlihy, founder of Credit Unions in Ireland (Sponsored Post)

Passion and Vision — the foundation of all great and noble deeds inspired the men and women of 1916 to rise up against oppression and demand a richer existence. They were brave and enlightened and risked their lives in pursuit of a better Ireland for generations to come.

Established in earnest in 1958, the Irish Credit Union Movement has been inspired by and echoes the vision of our forefathers pursuing a great nation, not by arms, but by easing stress, encouraging savings and enabling dreams through financial schemes, support and advice.

Over 50 years ago Nora Herlihy was a leading community activist and a personally-committed force for change in Ireland. Born in Ballydesmond, on the Cork-Kerry Border, on February 27th 1910 she was a National School Teacher of underprivileged children in the Dublin of the 1950s. What she saw moved her to action — the unemployment, the hunger, the families torn apart by emigration. She passionately felt something had to be done about the dreadful economic and social situation that confronted her every day.

Nora formed a sub committee to examine the whole structure of Credit Unions. Fired by the power of the concept, she carried out extensive international research and began the promotion of the Credit Union idea in Ireland. And so emerged the fledging Irish Credit Union Movement in Dublin in 1958.

Nora became secretary to the Irish League of Credit Unions which was founded two years later in 1960 and which operated from the living room of her house in Dublin for many years. She played a key part in securing the passing of the 1966 Credit Union Act — and she stood by Eamon de Valera, then President of Ireland, as the Act was signed into law.

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