Olympic Champions Gary and Paul O’Donovan unveiled as new Credit Union Youth Ambassadors


Olympic silver medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan have been unveiled as the new Credit Union Youth Ambassadors for the Irish League of Credit Unions. The rowing champions were officially announced as Ambassadors at the ILCU’s Youth and Marketing Conference in Athlone on Saturday 25th February. Delegates from credit unions across the island of Ireland were in attendance to see the sporting heroes  officially announced as ambassadors by ILCU President Brian McCrory. Newstalk 106 FM presenter Chris Donoghue was on hand to interview the sports stars live on stage, while a video filmed for credit unions by the two brothers was also
premiered at the event.

The overall theme of the youth conference was Digital Marketing and Social Media. There was a specific focus on how credit unions can develop their use of platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat to  communicate with Millennials and Generation Z. Guest  speakers included Zeminar co-founders Ian Fitzpatrick and Damien Clarke, Advertising Partner Manager at Facebook Lizzy Lillington-Lester, and Trendster co-founder Jack Cullen. A panel discussion on ‘Reaching the Next Generation’ was another highlight of the two-day event.

Speaking at the announcement of the Youth Ambassadors, ILCU President Brian McCrory said “Gary and Paul O’Donovan embody the spirit of co-operation and the ethos of working together towards a common goal which is so  important to the credit union movement. Their accomplishments in rowing at global level and their achievements at the 2016 Rio Olympics make them ideal role models for young people in our communities, and indeed ideal ambassadors for the many youth programmes run by our credit unions. We very much look forward to working with them as we advance our social media and video outreach.”
Also commenting on their new role, Gary O’Donovan said “Our own credit union in Skibbereen has always supported us every step of the way and so we didn’t hesitate when asked to be the new Credit Union Youth Ambassadors. We’re very proud to be representing the movement, especially for the younger generations.”
Paul added “The support for us from all corners of Ireland has been overwhelming. Knowing we have such incredible backing from our own community and from communities around the country really makes a difference to us when we’re competing, and so we’re delighted to have this opportunity to work with a movement that gives so much back to the people in the local communities they serve.”

The ILCU offers a wide range of marketing support to credit unions to set up and run both established national youth initiatives as well as local youth schemes. National initiatives include the Clued-In Scheme (a personal finance resource for second level schools) and the popular All Ireland Schools Quiz and All Ireland Art Competition. Local schemes run by credit unions include School Savings Schemes as well as Bursaries and Student Loans. The ILCU also runs the Young People’s Network and the Young People Programme for the support and development of younger credit union staff members and volunteers.
The next port of call for the new Youth Ambassadors will be the ILCU’s annual All Ireland School’s Quiz final at the RDS in Dublin on April 2nd, where 100 quiz teams from primary schools across Ireland will compete for €4,000 in cash prizes for their schools.