Friday 23 August 2019

BoI's customers put brakes on 'cashless bank' plan

'We have already seen 200 bank branches vanish around the country, so it is not as if the options for customers were not already disappearing fast'
'We have already seen 200 bank branches vanish around the country, so it is not as if the options for customers were not already disappearing fast'
Editorial

Editorial

The irony of Bank of Ireland's reported ambition to blaze a trail and become the first "cashless bank" is too rich.

How easy it is to forget that all of our banks were cashless just a few short years ago, surviving the crash only by the grace of the compliant taxpayer.

Swingeing restrictions that would limit over-the-counter withdrawals by customers - of their own money - were to be put in place.

Is it any wonder that pensioners, farmers, consumers and rural and city folk are all fed up?

In the face of the groundswell of fury from indignant customers, the bank is now having a rethink.

To many it seems that there is a rush to attain the utopia of a brave new people-less world of commerce, where technology reigns supreme and the customer comes into the picture only as an afterthought.

In such a paradigm, the computer or machine is regarded as vastly superior to that redundant "unit of production" formally known as a human being.

It seems that the kind word or friendly exchange is unlikely to survive, given the cost pressures of an ever more corporate world.

Without a by your leave to the customer, the bottom line relentlessly decrees: 'Who needs companionship when one can cosy up to the keyboard?'

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has intervened and added his own twopence worth, saying the change was "surprising and unnecessary".

All the same, the fear must be that other banks will also introduce tight controls on cash handling.

Mr Noonan will have to keep a watching brief.

We have already seen 200 bank branches vanish around the country, so it is not as if the options for customers were not already disappearing fast.

SF hopeful doesn't need to tell us drink-driving's bad

The wisdom of the decision by Sinn Féin to put Pat Buckley forward as a candidate raises some serious questions.

Mr Buckley says that the drink-driving conviction he has is "a cross I will have to carry for the rest of my life".

Whether the voters of Cork East should be happy to share that cross remains to be seen.

Yesterday, he appealed to Irish motorists to think twice before they get behind the wheel after drinking.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people already do.

They do not need to be asked by someone who was disqualified from driving for three years.

There is no tolerance for drink-driving, as the heartbreaking story of Gillian Treacy reminded us in all its harrowing detail in recent days.

Mr Buckley said: "Reading the newspapers over the past few days brought it all back to me. The headlines were all about a different case but I kept being reminded about my own case".

He said that he was still embarrassed and ashamed.

One wonders what Sinn Féin's leaders would have to say about the suitability of a Fianna Fáil, Labour or Fine Gael candidate running with a similar conviction.

Irish Independent

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