Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC)



Credit Union Advisory Committee - CUAC


  • CUAC is a committee established under section 180 of the Credit Union Act 1997.
  • The current CUAC was established in September 2014 and consists of 3 members:
    • Mr Donal McKillop, Chair, Professor of Financial Services in the School of Management at Queens University;
    • Ms Denise O'Connell, Partner, Audit and assurance services - Grant Thornton; and
    • Mr Joe O'Toole, Former Senator. Previously served as General Secretary of INTO and President of ICTU.
  • CUAC meets on a monthly basis in the Department, with the Department providing secretariat. It regularly invites credit union stakeholders to meetings to share their views on various topics.
  • CUAC has completed a number of research papers including, A Survey of Irish Credit Unions and Viability and Irish Credit Unions.
  • CUAC presented its report entitled Review of Implementation of the Recommendations in the Commission on Credit Unions Report, to the Minister on 29 June 2016. The Report was published on the Department’s website on 5 July 2016.


CUAC Members

 Donal McKillop – Chair of CUAC 

  • Donal is Professor of Financial Services in Queen’s University Management School.
  • In the last four years Donal has completed commissioned research on financial co-operatives for the Royal Irish Academy (exploring the efficiency and performance of Irish credit unions); the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (analysing how to build better credit unions in the UK) and the Scottish Executive (financial cooperatives in Scotland). He has also completed work on diversification strategies of US credit unions and the role technology has in the merger and acquisition behaviour of US credit unions which was presented to the Board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Washington DC.
  • Donal is currently an advisor on Welfare Reform to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (Northern Ireland) and a member of the Research Committee of the European Association of Cooperative Banks. He was also Chair of the Government Commission on Credit Unions (Ireland 2011-2012).

Denise O’Connell

  • Denise is a Partner at Grant Thornton and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (FCA) and completed her undergraduate studies in the National University of Ireland Galway and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) degree.  She has an in-depth knowledge of credit union operations and is responsible for the management of credit union audit and advisory assignments within Grant Thornton. In addition, she has worked on a number of inspection assignments from the Registrar of Credit Unions under Section 90/91 of the Credit Union Act, 1997 (as amended).  Denise also has considerable experience of the international credit union sector through her placement with a Canadian member firm in 2007.

Joe O’Toole

  • Joe is a teacher by profession, was elected as an Independent Senator to Seanad Éireann 1987–2011.  He was General Secretary to the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation 1990-2002, and President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 2000.  His other experience includes: Chair Audit Review Group 2001, Board Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority 2003–2013, Vice Chair Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) 2004–2014, OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC), Member Inaugural Leinster House Commission 2004–2007, Joint Oireachtas Finance & Public Service Committee 1997–2007, Joint Oireachtas Energy & Communications Committee 2007-2011, member of Government Commission on Credit Unions 2011–2012, and is currently a member of the Credit Union Restructuring Board since 2012.