David McWilliams: John Hume understood the power of credit

Derry Credit Union gave the city’s downtrodden the power to imagine a better future

John Hume on the Walls of Derry, spring 1998. Photograph: Pacemaker

John Hume on the Walls of Derry, spring 1998. Photograph: Pacemaker

In Mickey Bradley’s book Teenage Kicks: My Life as an Undertone, the bass player reveals that without Derry Credit Union, set up by John Hume in 1960, The Undertones might not have happened.

On June 15th, 1978, The Undertones had blagged their way on to the bill of a battle of the bands in Belfast, hosted by the legendary Terri Hooley of Good Vibrations record shop. Belfast was home to Stiff Little Fingers, whom The Undertones had just seen play in Kelly’s of Portrush. SLF had released the highly charged political single Suspect Device under their own record label and had just signed a new deal with the most happening independent label, Rough Trade. For the Derry boys, Belfast was big time.

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