AIB must make clear statement on branch network in republic
- Shuttering of branches in north must not spark campaign of closures in the south
- Minister must use 71% stake in AIB to pause branch closures on the island of Ireland until banking review has been completed
Speaking after the announcement by AIB that they are to shut 60% of its branch network in Northern Ireland, the Labour Party’s Finance Spokesperson Deputy Ged Nash said:
“The scandalous decision by AIB to close 60% of its branch network in Northern Ireland must be strongly condemned. Yet gain we are seeing certain banks use the Covid-19 crisis as cover to cut local jobs and close the branches on which our most vulnerable people and local communities depend on.
“This decision will have sent shock waves across the island of Ireland, and this decision must not be a Trojan horse for a campaign of AIB branch closures in the Republic.
“The majority State-owned AIB must make their intentions clear and reassure staff and customers that they will not follow Bank of Ireland with a frenzy of unjustifiable closures.
“The Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe must quickly put any uncertainty to bed. He should use his leverage as the major shareholder and publicly call on AIB to at least pause any consideration of branch closures until such time as the banking review which he says he is committed to undertaking has been completed.”
“Since last August I have repeatedly called for a moratorium on branch closures and job cuts in the banking sector.
“Nearly one year on we are yet to see any action from a government which continues to stand idly-by while banks in which we hold significant shareholdings continue to shed good jobs and leave communities without a local bank branch.
“AIB’s announcement on plans to close branches in the north has once again shown the need for a full, frank and informed debate on the future of banking involving all affected stakeholders, a call that has been made time and again by the Financial Services Union (FSU) and one the Government has only belatedly supported. We await the terms of reference of the review that the Minister has said he will commence and there is now a real urgency about this as the banking landscape changes by the day.”