The Irish Cooperative Organisation Society, The National Association of Building Co-operatives and the Irish League of Credit Unions came together yesterday (May 15th) at Croke Park, Dublin, to launch the Co-operative Alliance Ireland to celebrate the International Year of Co-operatives. Around 100 people filled the room to hear a range of speakers including Peter Couchman and ICA President Dame Pauline Green. Great speeches by the Minister for Jobs, Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD and especially the President, Michael D Higgins, who has a philosphical and historical knowledge and understanding of the movement in Ireland second to none. Both are fully committed to co-operatives and mutuals as a way of rebuilding the Irish economy in a more stable and sustainable way.
There is at present no single apex body for co-operatives in the Republic, and the Alliance could be the start of developing such a body.