Monday 22 July 2019

'People will struggle' - Post offices running out of cash as panic grips the country

A spokesman for the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said there was unlikely to be an issue with bank ATMs running short of cash

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Sean Nolan and Charlie Weston

Post offices have been running out of cash, as panic grips the country due to the severe storm.

Offices in Dublin, Louth and Offaly are reported to have been emptied of cash as social welfare recipients queued to collect cash.

The move by the Government to pay a double fuel allowance payment was blamed for the run on the post offices.

But people collecting other social welfare payments such as pensions have also put pressure on the cash reserves of the post offices.

A spokeswoman for An Post revealed that roads blocked by snow meant that some post offices had not got deliveries of cash this week.

She said this meant some post offices had run out of cash, leaving postmasters with no option but to make partial social welfare payments.

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And bank branches have been closed, prompting fears of a cash run down.

But a spokesman for the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said there was unlikely to be an issue with bank ATMs running short of cash.

He said contingency arrangements were put in place to ensure cash deliveries were made to branches to fill ATMs given the heavy weather conditions.

“We have a good degree of confidence that the ATM system will be able to cope with the adverse weather conditions,” said the spokesman for the banking federation, which represents all the retail banks.

Ballymun post office ran out of cash this morning and local councillor Noeleen O'Reilly told what happened in the suburb.

"The money ran out at 10.50am after there were queues out the door this morning," Councillor O'Reilly said.

According to the councillor, the post office opened at 8.30am but queues had already formed outside as people were anxious to get payments that had been moved up a day by the government.

Pensioners would normally get their payments on Friday but that was brought forward 24 hours by the government yesterday.

Payments can still be made directly into recipients' accounts if they present an AIB bank card.

Now it is feared that it could be Monday before cash payments will be available as all post offices are due to be closed on Friday.

Councillor O'Reilly put the blame for the situation squarely at the feet of the government.

"They were far too slow making decisions about payments so to decide at last minute has led to this situation," she said.

"Snow was already there so post offices were not going to be able to get additional funds delivered," she added.

"I feel very sorry for them," Councillor O'Reilly said. "People will struggle. A lot of people have been left high and dry."

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