Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has addressed the opening ceremony of the World Credit Union Conference at the Waterfront Hall Conference Centre in Belfast.
The five day annual event which is organised by the World Credit Union Council is being held in Belfast from 16-20 July, with over 1,800 delegates and guests attending - representing over 50 countries.
Addressing delegates, the Minister said: “For generations, the credit union movement has been driven forward on solid principles of social inclusion and empowerment – providing access to high quality and affordable financial services for all in society. That vision was born at community level and to this day maintains its roots in the local communities it serves, with a strong social ethos and dedicated staff, many who work on a voluntary basis.
“Since its establishment on the island of Ireland the credit union movement can point to a proud history of public service in our local communities, with one in three adults here in the north having a credit union account. It has played a very important role in the local economy and helped hundreds of businesses get off the ground. Credit unions also have a strong reputation for supporting families in times of financial hardship and I commend them for their enduring ethos of social inclusion and empowerment
“I met recently with the ILCU to discuss their ideas about how they can play a bigger role in supporting both the public and private sectors to help address the social and economic challenges within our communities. As Finance Minister I am keen to work with the ILCU, my Executive colleagues and others to explore these ideas more fully and to encourage the movement’s ambitious plans to invest, modernise and grow. The future for the credit union movement is bright.”
The Minister continued: “I am proud to be a credit union member and prouder still to be the son of parents who established the Antigonish Credit Union in Belfast in the sixties. I want to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak at their conference and to welcome all the delegates and guests to Belfast which is hosting the World Credit Union Conference for the first time. I wish you a successful conference.”
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