Bank of Ireland closures mark the death knell for rural Clare
- Three branches to close in Co. Clare
- Confirms worst fears of local residents
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe says Bank of Ireland’s decision to shut 103 of its branches, including three in Co. Clare, is a sign of waning commitment to smaller and rural communities.
Following the publication of the bank’s annual report, it was confirmed that Miltown Malbay, Kilkee and Tulla will all be losing their banks – which have already seen reduced hours in recent months.
“Bank of Ireland’s announcement signals a real death knell for a lot of small towns and their surrounding communities in rural Ireland,” said Deputy Crowe.
“Some of these bank branches have been in situ for well over a century and offer a vital service to the locality.
“I think Bank of Ireland management are hugely misjudging their customer base because a very large cohort still rely on in-branch face to face banking and online banking is not something they’re able to engage with – be it due to lack of IT skills or in many cases poor internet infrastructure, so this is a very premature move on their part.
“Today’s news means that there’s only two banks going forward that will serve the county west of Ennis, which is a devastating statistic.
“In recent months, I have been in contact with Bank of Ireland HQ about these three branches in Clare – namely Miltown Malbay, Kilkee and Tulla.
“In particular, following engagements with members of the business community in Tulla, I sought enhanced ATM and lodgement facilities there.
“I received what can only be described as a lukewarm response.
“This is indicative that their commitment to improving the service offered in small towns has been on the wane for some time now and today’s unfortunate news confirms that.
“I hope that Bank of Ireland will reconsider some of the planned closures and it’s a point I hope to discuss with colleagues in Fianna Fáil and more widely in government.
“It also must be highlighted that the proposal to have a Bank of Ireland service in post offices isn’t a panacea because as we’ve seen in Clare, An Post is watery in terms of its commitment to rural Ireland too.
“A departure of both a post office and bank leaves communities at a total disadvantage and it’s something that must not be forgotten about by high flying businessmen and women in Dublin City.”