Thomas Murphy: RIP: Farewell to one of VIEWdigital’s best supporters


Image above: Farewell: Thomas Murphy

We are sad to announce the death of Thomas Murphy, the father of VIEWdigital co-founder Una Murphy.

Thomas was always very supportive of everything that we did and he will be greatly missed.

He enjoyed distributing copies of the printed version of VIEW and would always leave copies of it in his local library at Ballyhackamore in east Belfast.

Thomas recently featured in our themed look at Volunteering. He, along with other men, were the original volunteers who helped to set up the credit union office in Ballyhackamore.

We would like to take this opportunity to reprint the article. Farewell Thomas and our deepest sympathy to his wife Ann, family and friends.

Full credit due to five volunteers

Reunited: Tom Murphy, left, outside the Credit Union office in Ballyhackamore, east Belfast, with Jerome Dawson, Val McMurray, Ronald Thompson and Malachy McMullan

By Brian Pelan

Five men who were all involved in starting up the Credit Union office in Ballyhackamore, east Belfast, were once again reunited to relive the story of how they volunteered their time to set up the branch.

Between them they have around 179 years of dedicated service to an ideal of providing support to their community.

Val McMurray said: “Back in 1967 we had heard a lot of good words about the work done by Credit Unions in other parts of ireland. A group of us in the parish here got together to talk about us setting up a branch in the area. “We got the former SDLP leader John Hume, who was involved in setting up one of the first Credit Unions in Ireland, to talk to us.

“He explained what a Credit Union did and how it could help the community. We decided to go ahead but we all understood that it would be on a voluntary basis.”

Malachy McMullan, who moved to the area in 1970, laughed as he recalled being “made a supervisor on the spot” after a friend introduced him to the Credit Union branch. “I never got promotion as quick in my life.” He has been with the branch for over 46 years now and serves on the board.

Jerome Dawson recalled being interviewed by the late journalist Martin O’Hagan, who was shot dead in Lurgan, Co Armagh, in 2001. The interview was for a book Martin was writing about volunteering called ‘Stories From The Edge’. Jerome told how Martin had done the entire book on a voluntary basis.

“I don’t know whether anyone knew that,” he said “We started off the branch in the parochial hall next to St Colmcille’s Church on the Upper Newtownards Road.”

The branch has grown since its early days and now occupies premises on the front of the road in Ballyhackamore.

Thomas Murphy said he decided to get involved after reading about Credit Unions in a magazine. “I liked the idea of helping ourselves to help others. Also money-lending – official and unofficial – at that time was rife and they were charging exorbitant rates. I was number 52 on our branch roll.

“I would also like to mention founding member Brian O’Neill who was unable to be here today.”

Ronald Thompson said he recalled being recruited by Tom Murphy. “He knocked on my door and got me to go along to a meeting about the Credit Union.” All of the men expressed their pride in setting up the branch. They also urged young people to get involved in volunteering.

“It gives you a sense of social responsibility,” said Tom. “It’s not all about yourself. It’s about how you relate to other people and help build your community.”



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