The latest decision by two of Ireland’s largest banks to sell off in excess of 1,000 ATMs is further evidence of banks turning their backs on rural Ireland, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said.

Commenting on the development, he said: “These ATMs represent around a quarter of those in the entire country. For the most part, they are located in shops and other retail outlets dotted around the country.

“If the two major banks sell off these ATMs, what is to stop private operators from drastically increasing fees to take out money – on top of the normal bank charges? These fees can add up, especially if you are a person on a low income.

“As well as this, these private operators may decide to get rid of ATMs in some shops completely if they decide they are not leaving enough of a margin.

“But these ATMs are part of a fabric of services that keep rural Ireland going; no more than the local shop, school, business, pub, post office, or creche.

“If you call into a shop or a filling station to take some cash out, it’s likely that you will buy something on the way out. Without that service there, you may be forced to move on to a bigger town to get to an ATM.

“That passing trade may be keeping some of these shops open and if their footfall is affected if their ATM is taken away, they could close completely.

“As I see it, Credit Unions are the only financial institution which is continuing to support rural areas and rural dwellers should recognise that by reciprocating that support to Credit Unions,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice – 0861914565

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