McNarry on Presbyterian Mutual Society

The ongoing disaster which is the Presbyterian Mutual Society has rightly excited interest from many unionist politicians including Arlene Foster and Jim Allister amongst others. Most of them have (again rightly) been pressurising the government and the banks. David McNarry (not normally one of my favourite politicians) has been one of those involved. Saturday’s News Letter has reports of letters from the PMS implying a pretty inextricable link between the PMS and the Presbyterian Church.
This from 1992
“That it is fulfilling a very necessary function within our Church is evidenced by the number of applications coming before the Board.”

“It is indeed a further mark of the Church’s caring concern for the welfare of its people.”

A letter sent the following year to an investor again described the PMS as a “helping agency within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.”

The same article quotes David McNarry making the most direct criticism I have seen of the Presbyterian Church in this affair:

“It was never acceptable that the stance taken by the Presbyterian Church to distance itself from the PMS excused it from or absolved it from any responsibilities.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that in the ‘good days’ the Church made no such efforts to set itself apart from the PMS.”

“The Church now has two obligations and duties to perform – first they must involve themselves in guarantees to the savers and second they must avoid a split in the Church developing.”

“Guarantees by the Church, which will clearly signal to the savers that the Church will not desert them, are urgently required.”

I have argued this before but it really is past time for the Presbyterian Church to step up to its (financial) moral responsibilities.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    slightly off topic but how would you characterise the Unionism of Presbyterianism in terms of rurual/city, east/west, young/old and TUV/DUP/UU and their percentage of the overall population.

  • Turgon

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit,

    Very difficult question for this time on a Bank Holiday Monday.

    Still I will have a go.

    The current membership is about 300,000 (and falling pretty continuously).

    Due to the pattern of the plantation settlement it is highest in Antrim and Down. However, areas like my own home in South Londonderry, the Prod population is probably 80% Presbyterian (at least nominally). Fermanagh has very few Presbyterians.

    Young old: of course more older people attend church and the PCI is especially losing younger people (to apathy and to the newer churches).

    Rural city is probably pretty even in nominal terms though classically the working class nominal Prods are more CoI and the middle class nominal Prods would have a higher percentage of Presbyterians (very rough and inaccurate statement).

    Re voting I would suggest years ago mainly UUP (the UUP at prayer). More recently mainly DUP. This election who knows: I will tell you in a few weeks.

    My best attempt at analysing the Presbyterian Church is this one: losing my religion

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    thanks for that – complexity of Protestanism is baffling, speaking as I like to do on behalf of the entire Nationalist population.

    Are Presbyterian Unionists more likely to be attracted by the TUV than the average Unionist?

  • Turgon

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit,

    If I could give a definitive answer (or any constructive answer) on that I would be demanding a fortune of money from the TUV for my stunning political insights.

    In all honesty I have no idea.

  • Bigger Picture

    I would have thought that the majority of potential TUV voters would be Free Presbyterian?!

  • Turgon

    Bigger Picture,
    Who knows? Will some be opposed to Paisley going into government and so defect from the DUP? Will some stick with the DUP as lots of DUP members are Free Presbyterians.

    In all honesty it is the most interesting election in years and I have no idea how it will pan out. Also the post election analysis (my favourite bit) will be fascinating.

  • Bigger Picture

    I agree no one knows, however that in itself is revealing from a TUV publicist, i would have thought you would be playing defections up rather than pondering if people will defect or not, a sign of changed times?

    I also disagree with your premise with defections being about Paisley, the average unionist is moved on from the right/wrong debate. Today’s unionism is about providing a strong voice at the centre of power, and while Jim Allister may go on and on and on and on about terrorists in government, he wilfully ignores journalists and commentators like O’Malley and Liam Clarke who have gone on the record that on the big issues between the DUP and SF it’s five nil to the DUP.

    My point is, unionists want strength and resilience and that will not be done by vacating the playing field and leaving it to our mutual enemies. The best insurance policy against a resurgance in republicanism is a strong, powerful and united unionist party and i believe unionist will respond positively to that. regards,

  • John K Lund / Lllamedos / Suchard

    There is a great deal to come out here and I feel a lot of people should realise that this company is now in the hands of the courts. There is a problem also in differentiating between shareholders and depositors. Also the company was not registered with the FSA and therefore the goverment is not dealing with a bank. It would appear that politicians and some lawyers could be purveying false hope to some unfortunate people. I am surprised that a Shareholders and Deposit Holders Action Group has not been formed . Where are all the atruistic Lawyers and Insolvency practitioners when they are needed?

  • Zoon Politikon

    If I were the UUP I would buy back their spiritual home before the DUP nabs it.

  • Greenflag


    ‘In all honesty it is the most interesting election in years ‘


    shakes head and would pray for Turgon but as there’s no God anyway and as religion is, next to prostitution the oldest racket in town there’s no point 🙁

    lund/llamedos/suchard ,

    ‘Where are all the atruistic lawyers and insolvency practitioners when they are needed? ‘

    Gettin rich as usual if not on the backs of the congregations then wherever they can . Sod the widows and orphans . As long as we get paid shag the rest .

    Whether the ‘altruistic ‘ lawyer is a Catholic , Presbyterian or Jew makes no difference . They are all cut from the same cloth . The body politic needs them just as much as the body physical needs a rear passage ;)?

  • seamus friel

    Presbyterian Mutual Society. As far as I can see from the coverage a few weeks ago the PMS seemed to be acting totally outside its legal remit in some of the activities it was engaging in and this was the fault of those controlling it not as Jim Allister tried to twist it the government’s fault. Therefore it cannot be bailed out as it was operating well outside of its remit for years. The board should have known this and so it falls back on them. Many investors seem to live over the border and it does not seem to be a credit union type organisation but dealt in very substantial loans and deposits. Many of these loans were allegedly used to keep property in the right hands when land and large estates came on the market.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The board should have known this ‘

    In this respect the PMS is not alone . If I had a euro for every bank, insurance company, mortgage broker firm , and elected politician , in the USA , UK and Ireland not to mention their degree laden ‘economic ‘ expert advisors – I could probably bail out the PMS 😉

    Not that I would . On a matter of principle and principal it’s against my ‘religion’ to give money to any church or allied financial institution.