Our Story So Far


Mountmellick Credit Union established. Total shares were £2,325.


Rathangan & District Credit Union established.


Total shares were £3,811 and loans £2,218.


New site purchased on Sarsfield Street.


Introduction of computerised accounts in MMCU.


Shares of £1.4 million recorded.


Rathangan CU moves to New Street.


Clonaslee sub-office opened


Old school building refurbished for new offices.


Sarsfield St offices refurbished & extended.


New office built on New Street site.


Transfer of engagement from Rathangan to Mountmellick.

The Credit Union Movement

The Irish credit union movement, based on its philosophy of mutual self-help has played a key part in the social and economic history of the Irish people...

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The Credit Union Movement

The credit union movement was based on a philosophy of mutual self-help. Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch established the first credit unions in the 1850s in Germany to give those lacking access to financial services the opportunity to borrow from the savings pooled by themselves and their fellow members.

“Credit unions are financial co-operatives formed to allow members to save and lend to each other at fair and reasonable rates of interest. They are not-for-profit organisations with a volunteer ethos and community focus. You can become a member of a credit union if you have a common bond with other members. A common bond can be a geographical area, a place of work or a place of study.”

There are currently over 82,758 credit unions across the globe serving 403 million members in 98 different countries.

Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the national association for credit unions in the United States, was founded in 1934. In the 1950s, international credit union development programs emphasised community development. Programs had broad social, as well as economic objectives.

By the late 1960s, organisations from all over the world had joined to form the international credit union system that exists today.

The World Council of Credit Unions was incorporated in the state of Wisconsin on Nov. 10, 1970, the result of a vote of confidence among national credit union associations throughout the world. It was a benchmark in history for the international movement and the culmination of a dream that had stirred enthusiasm in two generations of leaders. The World Council officially began operations on the 1st of January 1971.

The Irish League of Credit Unions is the Irish member of the World Council.

The Irish credit union movement was founded because of the efforts of three dynamic, pioneering, and entrepreneurial people; namely Nora Herlihy from Ballydesmond, a teacher based in Dublin, Seán Forde an employee of Peter Kennedy Bakers, Dublin and Séamus P. MacEoin from Kilkenny, a Civil Servant working in Dublin.

In Dublin in the 1950’s, they witnessed the effects of high unemployment: sickness, malnutrition, money lending, hunger, poor clothing, poor housing, and inevitably, emigration of one parent or of the whole family. In addition, state unemployment benefits were low and did not last indefinitely leaving many families in abject poverty.

The founders recognised the root of the problem as lying in the scarce availability and poor management of money and resolved to identify a system that would allow people to gain more control over their finances.

The first community-based Credit Union was established in Ireland in 1958 and is still in operation today; Donore Credit Union in Dublin 8.

Mountmellick & Clonaslee

Mountmellick Credit Union was established on May 21st, 1968 and opened for membership on May 24th 1968 in the Town Hall…

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Mountmellick & Clonaslee

Mountmellick Credit Union was established on May 21st, 1968, and opened for membership three days later, on May 24th in the Town Hall, Mountmellick.

Oliver Flanagan (President), William Feeney (Treasurer), Frances Feeney (Assistant Treasurer), Mrs Mary Culliton (Secretary), Neville James and Pascal Kearney became the first Board of Directors. Leon De Barra, Richard Somers, and Richard Fitzpatrick were elected as supervisors.

Many voluntary hours were spent working with the local people of Mountmellick to demonstrate the benefits of being part of the Irish Credit Union movement and taking control of their finances. Gradually the numbers began to grow and the demand for shares and loans increased. This increase in membership brought with it the necessity to find more suitable office space. In these early days business was carried out each Friday night and Saturday morning.

By 1982 the continued growth of Mountmellick Credit Union drove the purchase of a site from the late Mrs Evelyn Shaw in Sarsfield Street and to the building of new Credit Union offices on the site. A full-time manager and staff were employed, and the Credit Union opened on a full-time basis, increasing membership even further.

1990 saw the introduction of computerisation which greatly helped in updating accounts and easing the workload on both board members and staff. By the end of 1991 shares had risen to £1.4 million (from £2,325 in 1968!) with loans at £1.187 million.

In 1998, thirty years after its foundation, Mountmellick Credit Union once again undertook a major building project to better cater for the needs of its members and it is from these offices that business is currently conducted.

Clonaslee is a small village with a population of 566 people, about 15 kilometres to the west of Mountmellick town, in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains. There is evidence of settlements in this area dating back as far as the 12th century, but the village prospered markedly in the 18th and 19th centuries as it was located on one of the main roads from Laois to Munster.

It was here, on Church Street, Clonaslee, that Mountmellick Credit Union opened a sub-office to cater for the needs of the local community.


Rathangan & District Credit Union was set up in The Old Schoolhouse by Reverend William Kinsella in 1971…

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Rathangan & District Credit Union was set up in The Old Schoolhouse by Reverend William Kinsella in 1971.

The first board of directors was formed and consisted of Patrick Allen, John O’Donnell, Thomas A Byrne, George Hipwell, Patrick Kelly, Patrick O’Connell, John Carey, Michael Shortall, William R Kiernan, Christine Burke, and Margaret Keenan.

The Credit Union movement has a long history of being staffed by community volunteers and this dedication to the greater community good played an exceptionally large part in Rathangan’s history. Almost all the staff that worked in Rathangan Credit Union over the years, started out as volunteers.

In 1992 the Credit Union moved operations into one of the former parochial school buildings on New Street.

In 1997, an expanding member base and an increase in staff numbers meant that an upgrade was in order. The second parochial school building on the same site had fallen into disrepair. It was restored back to its former glory to become the new base of operations for the credit union.

In 2011 the original credit union building on the other side of the site was refurbished and significantly extended, including the addition of a large two storey building with a new banking hall, boardroom, and offices The new premises were officially opened by one of the surviving founding members, William R Kiernan on the 19th of June 2011 and it is here that operations are conducted from to this day.

Stronger Together

In 2021 a transfer of engagement was completed, and Mountmellick Credit Union became responsible for the common bond of Rathangan & District Credit Union increasing the number of members by approximately 3,500, shares by €15 million; and loans by €3.5 million.