88 branches of Bank of Ireland closed in the south yesterday along with 15 branches in the north as many customers must move to using the post office to bank money over the counter.
Seamus McDonagh, Workers’ Party Meath said:
“The post office does not provide for all services provided by the bank and as a result many customers and businesses now have to travel significant distances to access certain services.
“The Workers’ Party raised concern at the closure of these branches back in March when the announcement was made and cited the knock on effect this would have on communities. Bank of Ireland’s justification for these closures are based on a fall in the number of branch visits over the past two years. Given the entire country has been in various stages of lockdown, during a global pandemic, for the 18 months it is hardly surprising that there has been a downturn in footfall.”
“This reduction in services will leave many elderly and vulnerable customers without access to what is an essential service. The reduction of the number of post offices available to people will be an added difficulty. Bank branches are essential to commercial and social life. If people must travel to another town to access their bank, this will have a profoundly serious effect on the economy of towns, which will be the case in Athboy, Enfield and Ratoath.”
“There was no consultation on this decision and the silence from the Central Bank on this issue has been deafening. Bank of Ireland should be reminded at every opportunity that it was working class people who bailed out the banks during the financial crisis. This situation shows, without doubt, the necessity for a state-owned banking sector.”