The decision by Bank of Ireland to close four local branches in Elphin, Strokestown, Ballygar and Dunmore is a huge blow to the communities serviced by these branches, making it far more difficult for them to recover after Covid says local TD Denis Naughten.
“In some instances, the Bank of Ireland does not even provide an ATM which is accessible on a 24/7 basis,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Prior to Covid these towns were beginning to reinvent themselves, particularly with the opportunity of Government funding through tourism, rural regeneration and town and village schemes. This decision by Bank of Ireland is a significant setback to their plans.
“In light of this announcement by Bank of Ireland to withdraw from four local communities, along with Ulster Bank’s decision to exit the Irish market, the Government needs to urgently revisit the establishment of a State bank for SMEs and personal customers.
“We need to examine whether this could be done through An Post or the local Credit Union network, both of which have infrastructure, facilities and visibility in our communities.
“A new State bank offering low interest rates without personal guarantees is now required to support both businesses and communities as they begin to reopen when we emerge from lockdown. What is needed is a customer focused bank that will provide Green Finance to homeowners, landlords and businesses to invest in a sustainable future,” concluded Denis Naughten.