independent

Friday 18 August 2017

Community opposes banking service cuts

 

Deborah Coleman

The community of Tinahely is leading the way in a protest against cuts to banking services in rural branches of Bank of Ireland.

The newly formed Tinahely Action Group Against Bank Service Cuts has vowed to rail against the removal of counter services in Tinahely. Similar service cuts are planned for Rathdrum and Carnew from August 2 and afternoon counter services will no longer be available in Arklow, Baltinglass and Greystones.

Foreign currency exchange and coin transaction services will no longer be available in Tinahely, Rathdrum and Carnew.

Local representatives have voiced support for the campaign and recently Wicklow TDs Pat Casey, John Brady and Andrew Doyle along with Cllr Vincent Blake, delivered a letter of protest to Bank of Ireland headquarters.

'Whilst the bank will remain open for general business and as an advice centre directing its customers to use online banking and ATM services, its arbitrary decision to withdraw cashier services without consultation or commissioning an impact assessment, has angered the community,' said a spokesperson for the lobby group.

'Meetings with junior bank management has proved futile, with the bank unwilling to compromise in any way. Not challenging the decisions of banks that affect the lives of ordinary people has become the norm. But for Tinahely, the choice was simple, say nothing, go away, don't make a fuss and be grateful for what was on offer and watch business drift away, was not an option. Rather the community have decided to stand up, speak out and challenge the impersonal banking strategies, that are being rolled out all around the country,' the spokesperson added.

A petition has been launched as well as social media pages and the group says that 'Tinahely is not going quietly'.

Bank of Ireland however, has said that just three per cent of transactions are now completed over the counter and that the decision to reduce cashier services has been made in response to the change in how the majority of customers conduct their business.

A spokesperson said that customers who wish to avail of counter services can be directed to another nearby branch if required.

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