Minister Donohoe appoints four members to the Credit Union Advisory Committee

25th September 2018


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Tuesday) announced the appointment of the following four new members to the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC).

  1. Lorraine Corcoran, Director, Afanite
  2. Olive McCarthy, Senior Lecturer in University College Cork (UCC) 
  3. Seamus Newcombe, Chief Executive, Payac Services CLG
  4. Diarmaid O’Keeffe, Head of Audit, EisenAmper Ireland

The Committee advises the Minister in accordance with its mandate under Section 180 of the Credit Union Act 1997. The Committee members will hold office for three years from 1st September 2018 and will join two existing members who were appointed in December 2017.

Commenting on the appointments, Minister Donohoe said: ‘These four new members ensure that the CUAC is well balanced in terms of diversity of experience and expertise which includes academia, business management and financial analysis, and will complement the existing members of the Committee who are Credit Union management. I wish the new Committee members well over the next three years and I am confident that they will make a valuable contribution to the CUAC’s work.’

These four new Members replace three outgoing members of the CUAC:

  • Donal McKillop, Professor of Financial Services in the School of Management at Queens University, Belfast.
  • Denise O’Connell, Partner, Audit and Assurance Services – Grant Thornton.
  • Joe O’Toole, Former Senator. Previously served as General Secretary of INTO and President of ICTU.

The Minister thanked these Members for their hard work, stating: ‘The quality of the work conducted by the CUAC over the last number of years is widely recognised in the Credit Union sector and is a testament to the capabilities and commitment of the CUAC’s members during that period. They have made an important and valuable contribution towards dealing with the challenges facing the Credit Union sector at this time and I wish to thank them for both their expertise and their public service.’

The Minister concluded by saying: ‘The CUAC continues to support the development of the movement into the future and I look forward to receiving regular updates on CUAC’s work going forward. I have requested the committee to focus on business model development as the biggest issue facing the sector and specifically to review barriers to and supports for collaborative efforts as well as SME lending, linking with the outcomes of the Local Public Banking report.’




Background information

The appointment of a CUAC is a statutory requirement under section 180 of the Credit Union Act 1997. Section 180(3) provides that the Minister for Finance may appoint up to seven people to CUAC for such period as the Minister thinks fit.

The Committee’s statutory function is to advise the Minister for Finance and such other persons as the Minister thinks fit regarding:

  • the improvement of the management of credit unions;
  • the protection of the interests of members and creditors of credit unions; and
  • other matters relating to credit unions upon which the Minister, the Central Bank or such other persons as may be specified by the Minister may from time to time seek the advice of the Committee.

The CUAC meets on a monthly basis in the Department, with the Department providing secretariat. It regularly invites credit union stakeholders to meetings to share their views on various topics.

The CUAC has completed a number of research papers including: A Survey of Irish Credit Unions and Viability and Irish Credit Unions.

In June 2016 the CUAC produced a report to review and evaluate the implementation of recommendations of the Commission on Credit Unions. The purpose of the report was to identify recommendations made by the Commission on Credit Unions and to examine their implementation, having regard to their impact on credit unions, and environmental changes that have occurred following publication of the Commission on Credit Unions Report. The report also took into account of the spirit/intention of the Commission, the not-for-profit mandate of credit unions and their volunteer ethos and community focus, while giving due regard to the need to fully protect members’ savings and financial stability. The need for credit unions to develop their business models and grow income in a prudent manner was also considered.

CUAC produced a significant Report providing an in-depth analysis of the sector from a financial perspective and met with a range of stakeholders to ensure a balanced report providing focused and effective recommendations. The report, entitled the Review of the Implementation of the Recommendations in the Commission on Credit Unions Report, was presented to the Minister of Finance on 29 June 2016. On foot of this review an Implementation Group was established to oversee and monitor the implementation of CUAC’s recommendations. The group is chaired by the Department of Finance and consists of one member from each of the representative bodies, one member from the CUAC and a member from the Central Bank.

In December 2017, the CUAC published 3 Policy Papers on: (1) Common Bond, (2) eVoting and (3) Loan Interest Rate Cap.



Deborah Sweeney [Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe] – 086 858 6878

Aidan Murphy [Press Officer, Department of Finance] – 085 886 6667

Press Office – 01 676 0336