Leaving people without funeral expenses grant 'goes against ethos of Credit Union'

Leaving people without funeral expenses grant 'goes against ethos of Credit Union'

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould has now requested a meeting with the Registry of Credit Unions in relation to the removal of the Death Grant by Gurranabraher Credit Union. Pic: Maurice O'Mahony

A Cork TD has outlined his frustration that a northside credit union haven’t restored the Death Grant to their members, despite members voting unanimously a year ago to have it reinstated.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould has now requested a meeting with the Registry of Credit Unions in relation to the removal of the Death Grant by Gurranabraher Credit Union.

“I have written to Guarranabraher Credit Union a number of times now requesting a meeting regarding the decision to remove the Death Grant.

"They won’t agree to this meeting and therefore at this stage, I feel I have no choice but to contact the Registry of Credit Unions to outline my concerns,” he said.

“The removal of the Death Grant, and the manner in which it was done, goes against the ethos of the Credit Unions. The members voted unanimously at the last AGM, on a motion I put forward, to restore the Death Grant.

“The Credit Union still haven’t done this. I will be keeping the pressure on because the people of Gurranabraher and surrounding areas need this grant,” he added.

The grant ended on November 30, 2019, but members voted to examine reintroducing the grant covering funeral expenses in December last year.

Customers who had bought into the death grant scheme have not been covered since December 1, 2019, for €3,250 worth of funeral costs after the insurance scheme failed to reach a 50% member sign-up minimum.

Members were informed in October last year that new Central Bank rules stipulated that at least half of members must pay a premium to avail of the Death Grant Scheme in order for the service to be continued to be offered.

However, not enough of the credit union’s 13,500 membership responded, meaning the scheme closed leaving up to 5,000 people affected.

Previously, members who paid a €20 premium per annum would receive €4,000 towards the cost of their funeral if they died within a year. Adjustments to the scheme saw the figure paid out reduced and the annual premium paid by members rise to €30.

The service is not offered by all credit unions and is not under the control of the Irish League of Credit Unions — meaning individual credit unions can decide whether to offer the scheme or not.

Gurranabraher Credit Union has been contacted for comment.

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