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Credit Unions grow in strength

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Photo from the amalgamation of St Jarlath's Credit Union with Moylough-Mountbellew Credit Union

A credit union based in Tuam has now become the largest of its kind in the country after merging with another stand-alone credit union in the immediate area.

St Jarlath’s Credit Union in Tuam has now more than 42,000 members as well as having eight branches – giving it the firepower to challenge the banks when it comes to mortgages.

Manager Mick Culkeen said that it was another step forward for Tuam Credit Union – and he did not rule out further mergers in the future.

Mr Culkeen said that they had received good communication for their services through their app and were welcoming the fact that they were attracting new customers.

In recent weeks St Jarlath’s Credit Union merged with St Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union in Galway city and announced that they are offering mortgages at competitive rates.

Mick Culkeen said that they also want to target the farming community as part of their ambition to develop their services.

He said that they have been in discussions with the IFA and Teagasc with a view towards providing loans for the agricultural industry.

At the moment the two credit unions are promoting education loans and recently held a major promotion in Galway city but this could all be leading to a much bigger picture.

Recently St Jarlath’s Credit Union merged with Mountbellew/Moylough Credit Union as the Tuam-based financial house spread its wings – but now it has even bigger ambitions.

Mick Culkeen told The Connacht Tribune that they were very excited to be associated with St Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union for the education initiative that will benefit third level students and masters students.

“We are the two biggest credit unions in the county and we are starting out with education loans in the hope of this leading to something much bigger in the financial market.

“It will lead to better efficiency and better expertise when it comes to our members applying for loans and we intend to be more competitive than the banking institutions”, Mr Culkeen added.

They expect to be offering loans at 5.5%   in most of the mainstream banks they are 2% more expensive.

St. Jarlath’s Credit Union now has over 42,000 members, eight branch locations and total assets of €150 million with over €35 million loaned to members.

Connacht Tribune

Covid sees Knock down 75% in passenger numbers

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Ireland West Airport.

The impact of Covid-19 is having a devastating effect as Ireland West Airport – immediately after a year that saw record passenger numbers.

A total of 807,000 passengers came through the facility in 2019 – the fourth consecutive year of passenger growth at the airport.

That upward momentum continued over the first two months of the year – before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic forced the airport to close its doors on March 30.

The airport was closed for 91 days with airport staff ‘furloughed’ and all airport operations suspended during this time.

This followed the news of key airline partner, Flybe, who had been operating from the airport for over ten years, ceasing trading in early March, with the immediate loss of their longstanding and popular services to Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester.

The airport reopened for business on Wednesday July 1, but the impact of the pandemic has been far reaching both in the short and medium term.

Whilst air services have resumed with Ryanair at 40% of their planned schedule in operation, passenger numbers are significantly impacted as a result of the current travel advices in place.

Aer Lingus operations on their service to London Gatwick remain suspended with a provisional return date planned in mid-September.

All that meant that, by the end of July, passenger numbers will have declined by 350,000 compared to the same period in 2019 – and the full year forecast for 2020 will result in a 75% decline in passenger numbers to just over 200,000; a level last seen almost 20 years ago in 2001.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

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Connacht Tribune

Rural broadband boost

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Remote workers in Galway can connect to high-quality broadband for the first time – following the launch of a new service with average minimum speeds of 20mbps virtually anywhere in the country.

With a simple plug and play installation, and no waiting time on deliveries, customers can be up and running 24 hours after their initial enquiry.

Broadband Anywhere from Magnet Networks is a new mobile technology product which will enable businesses and people working remotely and struggling with basic or no broadband connection to significantly upgrade their connectivity.

Operating on a separate IoT platform, using 4G LTE technology, Broadband Anywhere is not subject to contention and bridges the distance between the fibre exchange and the consumer – commonly known as the last mile.

Testing carried out at a number of locations in Galway resulted in guaranteed minimum speeds of 20mbps download and 20mbps upload while most were averaging between 40mbps – 60mbps.

The tests were conducted in Ardrahan, Bullaun, Bunowen, Clifden, Clonberne, Galway city and Tuam.

John Rattigan is MD of Lafferty Project Managers, based between Tuam and Dunmore – and he says that Broadband Anywhere is delivering speeds of 35 mbps, changing the experience of working remotely.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

At the Edge makes move onto the web

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Special guest....billionaire entrepreneur Iza Login

An international conference on today’s business leadership challenges originally planned to take place in Galway this October was relaunched online with a new focus this week.

Organisers of Leading at the Edge have re-engineered the event to focus on the barriers facing businesses in dealing with the fall-out from COVID-19.

The conference will bring together online, 300 leaders from organisations large and small in every sector from across Ireland to hear from international experts and local success stories on  what’s required to lead in this new environment: rapidly recovering revenue, rethinking the business model and accelerating digital.

“We believe that this conference will provide inspiration, how-to and direction to business leaders in this hugely challenging time,” says Galway resident Kevin Kelly, one of the organisers of Leading at thew Edge.

The event will bring a mix of interviews, presentations and round-table discussions on the themes of Recovering Revenue; Rebuilding Operations; Rethinking the Organisation; and Accelerating Digital.leadingatht

Billionaire entrepreneur and creator of Talking Tom, Iza Login, will talk about how she built a billion-dollar business from nothing, starting in the last recession and what learnings are still relevant today.

US TV personality and author Kelly Swanson will demonstrate how strategic storytelling engages your staff and your customers/clients with your organisation’s purpose.

They’ll be joined by Kevin Kelly, Patrick McKeown and Paul O’Kelly as well as contributors from organisations in Ireland which have compelling leadership stories to share.

The conference will take place on Wednesday, October 7. Early bird tickets are on sale on Eventbrite until the end of July; for further details see www.leadingattheedge.ie

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