Cork credit union group sets up student bursary in honour of former CEO 

Access Credit Union in West Cork has set up €5,000 Donal O’Driscoll Student Bursary to provide financial support to someone embarking on third-level education or starting an apprenticeship this year
Cork credit union group sets up student bursary in honour of former CEO 

Donal O'Driscoll died last September age 60.

A credit union group in West Cork has honoured its former CEO ahead of the first anniversary of his untimely death by unveiling a new bursary in his name to help ease the cost of college or further education.

Access Credit Union said it hoped its inaugural €5,000 Donal O’Driscoll Student Bursary would provide financial support to someone embarking on third-level education or starting an apprenticeship this year.

Mr O’Driscoll, the group’s long-serving CEO who oversaw a period of dynamic growth and expansion, died last September following a short illness. He was just 60.

Access Credit Union has branches in Skibbereen, Schull and Bandon, with over 27,000 members across West Cork, and over €120m in assets and some €70m available to lend to its members. Bursary applications are open to all of its members.

Mr O’Driscoll was always passionate about education and lifelong learning and throughout his long term as CEO, he actively encouraged Access Credit Union staff to engage in further education and he supported those who did.

He returned to college himself in 2014 and earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from UCC.

He also championed the Credit Union ethos of supporting and empowering members, particularly in the sphere of education.

Now, in a mark of respect to him and in honour of his career and contribution to the growth of the credit union, details of Access Credit Union’s inaugural Donal O’Driscoll Student Bursary have been announced.

His wife, Catriona, described the decision to remember Donal through a bursary as “very touching”.

“Donal gave so much of his life to the Credit Union and helping students was something he was passionate about so he would be proud to know that a student bursary was created in his honour,” she said.

Access Credit Union chairperson Leo O'Driscoll said they believed it was a fitting tribute to Donal O'Driscoll.

“Donal was passionate about education and lifelong learning so when we were thinking about ways we could remember him we felt that he would very much approve of an initiative which would help someone towards their third level or apprenticeship fees,” he said.

“He was a fantastic community man who believed that the Credit Union should be the first place local people could turn to when in financial need or for financial advice so this bursary is one way we can pay tribute to a very special man.” 

Applicants for the bursary must be members of Access Credit Union or open an account to be eligible to apply. They should also submit a 400-word piece on how the bursary will help their educational journey.

Applications will be accept at one of the Access Credit Union branches in Skibbereen, Bandon or Schull until September 19.

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