Credit Unions prepare for Brexit on the Border

An ex-Number 10 Downing  Street Brexit spokesman is one of the keynote speakers at an upcoming credit union-organised Brexit meeting in Ballyconnell. The Brexit on the Border public event at the Slieve Russell hotel, on Thursday February 28th, is the third in a series of meetings called by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU). The largest representative body for the movement is mobilising credit unions along the border region to help their local communities prepare for the impact of Brexit. Credit unions intend to be central to the pre-and-post-Brexit effort in border region communities to safeguard families and the local economy.

Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Philip R. Lane, recently discussed the potential impact of Brexit on the economy, especially near the Border, at the European Financial Forum. He said; “A sudden, no-deal scenario would have immediate disruptive effects that would permeate almost all areas of economic activity. The agri-food sector would be disproportionately affected, with a corresponding outsized impact on rural regions, especially near the border…..a disorderly Brexit could reduce the growth rate of the Irish economy by up to four percentage points in the first year.”

At the public summit, the local community will have an opportunity to put their Brexit related queries to the keynote speakers, and credit union representatives. The meeting will be chaired by former RTE political correspondent and author, Martina Fitzgerald. One of the keynote speakers, Matthew O’Toole, was Number 10 Downing Street’s Brexit spokesman between 2015 and 2017 under both David Cameron and Theresa May. He is now Head of Political Intelligence at Powerscourt, a communications consultancy, and writes regularly on British and Irish politics. He will be joined by The Financial Times’ Ireland correspondent, Arthur Beasley, and financial wellness coach and Irish Independent journalist, Sinead Ryan.

ILCU President, Charles Murphy, will also attend the meeting and will outline how the organisation will position its affiliated credit unions to bear the impact of Brexit, as they are likely to be the first port of call for many who will struggle to cope with the financial fallout.

Speaking about the upcoming meeting, Mr Murphy said; “Although the full consequences of Brexit remain speculative even at this late stage in the day, what is certain is that the border region economy will come under additional pressures and will face serious disruption. Daily life will be affected because high level political issues will have bread-and-butter consequences. To put Brexit in a credit union perspective; when people lose income, or worse lose their jobs, credit unions are the ultimate, and often the only, door open to them. We want these communities to know that credit unions stand ready to deliver for them, and can provide them with further reassurance and clarity at these summits. Everyone living and working in the border region is warmly invited to attend this meeting.”

The event is open to the public and is not confined to credit union members. It will take place between 7pm and 9pm on Thursday February 28th at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell.


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