DUBLIN, Ireland (7/30/10)--The Irish League of Credit Unions has welcomed the appointment of independent consultants to conduct a review of the credit union sector in Ireland. Kieron Brennan, CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions, said he sees the review as an opportunity to strengthen the credit union movement, and allow it to take a more influential position in Irish society (IrishTimes.com July 28). Brennan said that there were increasing bad debts across the credit union movement. However, he reassured members that their savings are safe. “On the whole I think we would expect the review to find that credit unions are safe, strong and secure,” he told the newspaper. “But, I have to say, the movement is a large and diverse one with 500 credit unions north and south, and we would expect that not all of those will necessarily be operating to the peak level of efficiency.” Brennan was unable to say exactly how many credit unions were in financial trouble, but said that across the whole movement, up to 13% of the 6.8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) it had lent to customers were bad debts, according to the paper. “Let’s be clear there are increasing bad debts across the credit union movement,” he told the paper. “We wouldn't argue with that. We’ve seen those figures, they are a concern.” In comparison to other financial institutions, credit unions were in good shape, Brennan added. "Credit unions have performed extremely well throughout this financial crisis,” he told the paper. “In sharp contrast to the banks, they have not had to be bailed out … and no single cent of taxpayers’ money has gone into credit unions.” The Central Bank and Financial Regulator Wednesday announced the appointment of Grant Thornton to conduct the new review, which was requested by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan.