The influence of the founding ICOS members can still be seen today
- The seeds for the Credit Union movement in Ireland were sown within ICOS by Fr Tom Finlay. Based on the Raiffeisen system, Ireland’s First Co-operative Agricultural Credit Society was set up in Co. Cork in November 1894.
- Sir Horace Plunkett helped establish the forerunner to today’s Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in Ireland. The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland (DATI) was formed in 1899.
- With the advice and financial support of ICOS the Society of the United Irishwomen was formed in 1910. In 1935 the Society of the United Irishwomen changed its name to the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).
- Evolving from their small co-operative beginnings in Ireland, multi-billion euro companies like Aryzta AG, Glanbia, Irish Dairy Board and Kerry Group have established a global market present.
- Marketed through the Irish Dairy Board and available in over 50 countries around the globe, the ‘Kerrygold’ brand is Ireland’s only truly internationally-known food brand.
- Much of the cream for the world’s no. 1 cream liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream, is taken from ICOS co-operative member farms.
- In 1889, Ireland’s first co-operatives were established in Doneraile, Co. Cork and the first co-operative creamery was opened in Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick.
- Adopting the Danish Co-operative Model, the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society Ltd. (later renamed the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society Limited - ICOS), was formed in 1894 by Sir Horace Plunkett and his friends.
- On the recommendation of the poet and playwright W.B Yeats, one of the first ICOS employees was the poet, painter, mystic and practical economist, George William Russell, otherwise known as Æ.
I believe that whatever may be the temporary strength of other movements in Ireland, the Co-operative movement, dealing as it does with the daily lives of men, must finally have an influence greater than any other in its effect upon the character of the Irish nation
- George William Russell, Æ