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Services we provide

  • The legislation governing co-ops in Ireland was enacted into law in 1893, ICOS was formed one year later in 1894
  • ICOS is the leading organisation for registering new co-ops in Ireland
  • We are the foremost authority on co-op rules & governance in Ireland
  • Our members and their associated companies generate almost €15 billion in sales per annum

ICOS provides a broad range of services to its members. Such areas of service include:

    Providing a Co-operative Voice

    ICOS is a registered co-operative. We have been representing and serving the co-operative sector in Ireland for over 125 years.

    Our core business is to provide vision, leadership and value to the co-operative movement in Ireland. We use our collective voice to put the needs of the co-operative movement and our member co-ops to the forefront of what we do.

    Customer Service, Co-op Development & New Co-op Registration

    ICOS are leaders in co-operative development. We are also Ireland’s leading organisation for registering new co-ops. We live by our mission to provide ‘world class service’ to our members. Through our core values we aim to deliver vision, leadership, and value to our members. For prospective co-op start-ups, ICOS follows a process whereby prospective co-operatives are evaluated for suitability, registered with the assistance of ICOS, and put through a two-year ‘Start-Up’ development programme.

    Co-op Rules & Governance

    ICOS is the co-operative with the foremost expertise in Ireland on co-operative rules and governance. Our model rules are accepted by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.  We provide advice on rules, governance, and annual co-operative financial reporting. ICOS makes representations to the International Accounting Standards Board on behalf of co-operatives in relation to emerging issues in relation to financial reporting.

    Lobbying & Representation

    ICOS lobbies and represents its members on nearly 50 boards, industry bodies and governmental institutions etc. We also maintain an active network across many departments of government. ICOS is one of the few Irish industry organisations that have a full-time office in Brussels since the early 1970s. Our Brussels office maintains a network with over 150 groups and organisations across Europe. ICOS’s reputation for openness, fairness, pragmatism and integrity advances our status both at home and abroad.

    Sectorial Expertise

    ICOS supports the creation of commercially viable co-operatives that are structured, and focused on the economic drivers promoted through co-operative principles. Co-operatives provide over 100 million jobs around the world, 20% more than multinational enterprises. ICOS’s expertise across many industry sectors, together with our lobbying activities and our international networks help us deliver tangible value for our members

    Training & Education

    Within ICOS we pursue a policy whereby we ‘Educate to Co-operate’. A primary focus for our education initiatives is on corporate governance. Through ICOS Skillnet we have the facility to provide targeted training and personal development programs. We are also able to provide targeted training across a broad number of co-operative industry sectors and fields of interest.

    Networking & Synergy

    ICOS actively promotes and supports the principle of ‘Co-operation amongst co-operatives’. We facilitate networking and business opportunities amongst our member co-ops both in Ireland and internationally. When called upon, ICOS has always been the first to help facilitate and guide willing co-ops to forge new relationships, drive industry wide initiatives, pursue joint ventures and mergers.


    In today’s information age ICOS has focus on actively communicating with its members in a timely fashion. Our website, Twitter and Facebook feeds are updated regularly. Depending on the co-operative sector we also send targeted e-mails on a regular basis, organise networking events, seminars and conferences.

    As always our team of development managers are only a phone call away.

    Funding Opportunities

    ICOS has a long track record of securing funding for the Irish co-operative sector. Currently, we are focused on securing funding for projects in areas of innovation, research and development

To learn more about setting up a co-operative please go to Starting a Co-operative.