Firms in Gaeltacht village warn of dire consequences to community
BUSINESS owners in a small Co Galway village have hit out at the decision to close down their village's only bank.
Liam O'Donnell, who owns two businesses in Carraroe -- which is in the Connemara Gaeltacht and is famous for its traditional Galway Hooker fishing boats -- said the move could kill the community.
"There is nothing left in the area," he said after AIB announced that it will be one of 67 branches to close.
"We used to have two banks here, now we have nothing. This has killed the place completely.
"We used to have up to 400 people working in the business park, now we'd be lucky if there were 20. The people here relied on the bank."
Mr O'Donnell added he will now have to travel 25km to Spiddal for his banking needs.
"I'll be forced to travel to Spiddal now and, depending on how busy it is, it could take me up to two or three hours to get there, do my banking and get back.
"It could have a terrible effect on old people in the community. They could well go back to keeping money in the house," he said.
Reiltin Ni Fhlatharta, who runs the local Mace shop, said she was shocked.
"It's very surprising. They had gone down to two days a week but when they were open they were very busy. Moves like this are ruining the community," she said.
Ms Ni Fhlatharta added that while AIB insisted that services will be transferred to the local post offices, it would not be the same.
"The post office is not as private and people want to do their banking in their bank," she said.
Carraroe resident Cormac O Loideain, who banked with AIB, said the decision was "another blow".
"It was important for the local businesses so it will be a loss," he said.