Bank closures ripping the commercial heart out of Provincial Ireland
Labour Party Spokesperson on Community and Rural Affairs Seán Sherlock TD has said that the named branches slated for closure by Bank of Ireland is an attack on provincial towns right around the country. If the Government really is committed to development outside of Dublin, it must intervene and stop Bank of Ireland ripping the commercial heart out of Provincial Ireland.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“Every person living in rural Ireland will be horrified by the news this morning that Bank of Ireland is pulling out of our communities. This is akin to ripping the commercial heart out of Provincial Ireland. These branches provide a focal point not just for everyday banking but wider community itself.
“These closures will change the face of our towns, and the impact will be seen on our main streets, felt by family businesses and I am gravely worried about the impact this will have on job losses throughout the entire rural economy.
“The cynical attempt of the Bank to use COVID as cover for these closures is an insult to staff and local communities. Seeing their workers as merely numbers does not take into account what’s happening in local branches throughout the country where bank staff play a fundamental role in our rural economy.
“This Government is talking out of both sides of its mouth on regional development. It speaks of revitalising main streets again, but if services as basic as the bank move completely online, there will be no main street to revitalise.
“If the Government is banking on the National Broadband Plan to be the saving balm on these closures, they simply are not listening to people across rural Ireland with sub-standard broadband struggling to email, let alone bank.
“I’m calling on the Minister for Finance to intervene and put a stay on these proposed closures. The ordinary workers in our towns saved the banks, it is incumbent on banks not to abandon these people now.
“The Central Bank is asleep at the wheel in allowing these closures. It is not just logging into current accounts. It is the commercial relationship between local businesses and the local bank manager. It is the link for local sports teams and community activities. This is an attack on provincial towns and must be resisted in full.”