Senator Rose Conway-Walsh calls for all Mayo branches to be included in Bank of Ireland re-opening scheme
Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has welcomed the decision by Bank of Ireland to reverse the decision to make several branches completely cashless.
Speaking after the bank confirmed that over 150 branches will revert to full services by the end of the year, Senator Conway-Walsh urged communities in Mayo affected to continue to press for a return of full services.
The Mayo Senator said;
"As a member of the Finance Committee I pointed out again and again to officials from the banks that ending or limiting cash counter services at branches, especially in rural areas, has a massive impact on customers and businesses in that area.
"I made it clear that the alternatives offered by the banks such as occasional mobile banking calling to towns and increased use of online services, was no substitute for being able to talk to bank officials and make use of other interactions such as the lodgement of takings by small and medium enterprises.
"I know that many people had to make long journeys to access these same services in other branches, adding time and money to an already stretched SME sector.
"I would urge communities that have been affected by the curtailment of services at their local branch to maintain pressure for these services to be restored in all branches.
"Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Charlestown and Kiltimagh branches have no cash desk facilities while in Belmullet, Claremorris and Swinford the cash counter only operates for two and a half hours in the morning.
"This decision by Bank of Ireland has not materialised out of nothing. The dynamic came from the communities affected and they sustained that pressure throughout.
"Several months ago when I began raising this issue and asking the banks to restore services, it was thought impossible to change the mind of such a large corporation for the sake of a few communities affected.
"However this recent decision proves that sustained political pressure works.
"Even something as simple as explaining to the bank chiefs in Dublin how a cash business in Mayo is impacted by the removal of cash services from the local branch can act as a wake up call that customers' needs should be to the fore of banking policy.
"I am calling on the other banks who have curtailed branch services to take note of this row back by Bank of Ireland and respect their customers."