Kerry Mayoral reception celebrates 50th anniversary of Credit Union Movement in Ireland

Released: 12 September 2008

Kerry County Council held a Mayoral Reception in the Rathmore Credit Union Offices on Saturday, September 13th, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Credit Union Movement in Ireland

The reception also honoured the achievements of local woman, Nora Herlihy (1910 – 1988), one of the founding members of the Credit Union movement in Ireland.
Born just over the border in Ballydesmond, a Memorial Centre was set up in her honour by Rathmore Credit Union in her native village. 

Working as a school teacher among disadvantaged children in 1950’s Dublin, Nora Herlihy was moved by the sight of families suffering the effects of high unemployment, malnutrition, money lending, poor housing and clothing.  

Recognising the root of the problem as being the scarce availability and poor management of money, she resolved to identify a system that would allow people to gain more control over their finances. 

The Irish credit union movement started in 1958 when a small group of dedicated individuals pooled their meagre financial resources in a determined move to make essential financial services available on a non-discriminatory basis from within the community. 

Since the founding of the first credit union in Ireland the movement has grown to be one of the country’s greatest success stories.  There is hardly a community on the island that is not served by a credit union, offering access to affordable financial services to everyone in its area.  It is by far the largest of any financial institution in Ireland, with over three million people holding credit union accounts.

The Mayor of Kerry, Cllr. Tom Fleming, stated that he was delighted to welcome the Irish League of Credit Unions to Kerry.  

He paid tribute to the tremendous achievements of Nora Herlihy, and acknowledged and welcomed all her relatives to Kerry.  “I would also like to congratulate the Irish League of Credit Unions on the invaluable contribution which this national, largely voluntary movement has made to Irish society over a relatively short period, serving communities all around Ireland, North and South.”

To mark the occasion, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the Nora Herlihy Memorial Centre, Ballydesmond, followed by a concelebrated mass in St. Patrick’s Church, Ballydesmond.

Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email:

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