The decision by Bank of Ireland to withdraw counter staff and cash faciliries from 100 small rural branches across the country is a slap in the face for rural Ireland and I am calling on them to reverse this decision which will have major negative implications for many people in local communities throughout the country.
In this region alone Ballygar, Elphin and Strokestown are some of the branches to be affected and in addition to no cash facilities at the counter there will be no facility for small businesses to get change which they need to operate day to day and week to week. Those business people willl have to go to the bigger branbcxhes to be looked after in that regard which is very unfair. But it is the elderly people who will be most affected by this move. The vast majority of people over the age of 65 have never been online in their lives yet they are expected to be able to conduct internet banking which is sheer madness and desperately unfair. Older people want to conduct their business over the counter with staff members and now this facility is being withdrawn. We are leaving these people behind.
We have been told time and time again about the revival of rural Ireland. There is not much sign of any revival with this latest move, in fact it is the oppossite. I would remind the Bank of Ireland that it was the ordinary people of Ireland who bailed them out when they almost bankrupted the country in recent years and now this is how they are being repaid. It is clear that they do not want to see people in their banches any more which is a sad state of affairs. In many cases people who have been Bank of Ireland customers all their lives are being forgotten about and this latest move is a scandal.
I am also aware that EU agencies are pushing banks to take a different view on how they deal with outstanding mortgages and this will lead to far more reposessions than hertofore. But that’s an issue for another day. Bank of Ireland shoudl reverse it’s decision on cash free branches and think about all of their customers and not just some.

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