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Sunday 4 December 2016

ATMs to run short on cash as strike hits deliveries

Published 01/11/2016 | 02:30

The scene of a cash-in-transit raid in Dunboyne last month. Photo: Collins
The scene of a cash-in-transit raid in Dunboyne last month. Photo: Collins

Bank machines around the country are likely to run short on cash next weekend if the garda strike goes ahead.

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The Irish Independent has learned that the main banks are drawing up security plans to deal with the unprecedented withdrawal of services by over 12,000 officers.

And one of the main companies providing cash-in-transit services has confirmed it will be "placed in a lockdown state with enhanced security measures".

G4S, which provides cash delivery and collection services to most of the main banks, will effectively operate on a similar basis to a bank holiday.

Although none of the banks would comment on their security arrangements, industry sources said major planning is under way.

AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank branches will open as normal but extra security measures will be taken.

Industry sources said some automated teller machines (ATMs) may run out of funds next weekend because they will not be filled on Friday.

There is a possibility that some banks would hold on to more money on Thursday to ensure they have an adequate cash flow but sources said those risks are still to be assessed.

One of the greatest threats associated with the strike is the potential for cash-in-transit robberies. Although the number of security van robberies is down this year, there have been a number in recent weeks.

Read more: Garda strikes look certain to happen as GRA unanimously reject proposal aimed at resolving pay dispute

Up to €100,000 was stolen in two separate cash robberies in Tallaght and Finglas in Dublin on one day last month.

"The risk would be too great if gardaí are not operating," said a banking source in relation to cash transfers.

G4S, which has a nationwide network, 200 vehicles and over 600 staff, will be among the companies most affected.

The company provides cash transportation in high-security vehicles and cash management services, including secure storage and the sorting of notes for ATMs.

John Campbell, managing director of Cash Solutions Ireland, a division of G4S, told the Irish Independent: "Due to the planned withdrawal of service by An Garda Síochána on successive Fridays in November, G4S has been in contact with customers to tell them that it will not be able to provide cash delivery and collection services on those days. We will be working with customers to mitigate the impact of this decision where possible, and in the interests of the safety and security of our staff, our branch network will be placed in a lockdown state with enhanced security measures in place."

Now that the Garda Representative Association has rejected the Government's deal, a full-scale contingency plan is set to swing into action.

Speculation that the army may be deployed onto the streets has been dismissed by senior Government sources but the Defence Forces will be on stand-by in case of a major incident.

The Department of Justice is also holding discussions with the airport and port authorities aimed at keeping routes into and out of the country open.

Passport controls at Terminal One in Dublin are civilianised and would not be affected to the same extent by the strike action.

The airport police service, which patrols in and around terminals, is not part of An Garda Síochána.

The Garda National Immigration Bureau operates passport controls at Dublin Airport's Terminal Two, as well as in Cork and Shannon airports and Dún Laoghaire and Rosslare ferry ports.

Court sittings are also likely to be severely disrupted.

Irish Independent

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