Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has accused AIB of abandoning rural Ireland after it was announced today that the state owned bank is closing 67 branches across the state.
Deputy Doherty also criticised the bank’s decision to increase its mortgage interest rate by half a percentage point just weeks after the ECB reduced its rate and AIB refused to pass the cut on to its customers.
“Today’s news will be a serious blow to communities throughout the state particularly rural communities that are already suffering from a lack of investment and a withdrawal of services.
“In my own constituency, Bundoran, Falcarragh, Gweedore, Raphoe, Lifford and Dunfanaghy, will all close during the first half of 2013 meaning more job losses in an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
“AIB is a nationalised bank. The people own it. Yet it is being allowed to abandon rural communities across the state and to hike up its interest rate putting its customers under more financial strain. This is just weeks after the bank refused to pass on the ECB interest rate cut of half a percentage point to its customers.
“The government needs to show its commitment to rural Ireland. Its action plan on jobs means nothing to people in rural communities where more and more jobs are being lost and more and more services are being cut.
“This government was elected on a promise to create jobs yet again and again we hear of major job losses and the live register stands at nearly half a million. Its action to create jobs has been pathetic and subservient to its commitment to pump billions into zombie banks.
“Unfortunately the government’s record in rural Ireland is no better than its job creation record.” ENDS