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AIB turn back on the cash following rural revolt

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The Allied Irish Banks (AIB) headquarters in Dublin, Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002. Allied Irish Banks PLC, Ireland's biggest company said Wednesday that a missing foreign exchange dealer at its US subsidiary, Allfirst, was suspected of stealing dlrs 750 million through phony option deals. (AP Photo/John Cogill)...I

The Allied Irish Banks (AIB) headquarters in Dublin, Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002. Allied Irish Banks PLC, Ireland's biggest company said Wednesday that a missing foreign exchange dealer at its US subsidiary, Allfirst, was suspected of stealing dlrs 750 million through phony option deals. (AP Photo/John Cogill)...I

The Allied Irish Banks (AIB) headquarters in Dublin, Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002. Allied Irish Banks PLC, Ireland's biggest company said Wednesday that a missing foreign exchange dealer at its US subsidiary, Allfirst, was suspected of stealing dlrs 750 million through phony option deals. (AP Photo/John Cogill)...I

kerryman

People power and political pressure have been attributed to the U-turn by AIB on their decision to make banks in Kerry cashless.

On Friday morning following days of anger and furious reaction at the decision by the bank to make 70 banks cashless across the country including six in Kerry and West Limerick, AIB reversed their decision and are to maintain their banks and bank ATM’s as are. 

Kenmare, Killorglin and Cahersiveen along with Dingle and Castleisland and Abbeyfeale in West Limerick were all to be made cashless by AIB. This mean there would be no cash transactions at branch counters or machines or no AIB ATM services in any of those towns. Many of these very towns have already lost Bank of Ireland outlets leaving rural customers without any viable banking service in their towns. 

The AIB caused uproar in these communities and amongst public representatives who called on the Government to step in and reverse this decision, given they are the majority shareholder in the bank. 

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AIB said they  had decided not to go ahead with the cashless banks “in recognition the customer and public unease” that their decision caused. 

Public protests and meetings were planned in several towns. Local business groups in Kenmare and Killorglin had voiced their concerns to make the bank cashless claiming they would adversely affect the future of rural businesses many of whom are still dependent on cash. 

Chairperson of KMEG, Jerry O’Sullivan, said the decision creates “uncertainty for the future of rural businesses” who are already faced with difficult trading conditions and now have been hit by a further blow by their bank.

"Why now when there is crisis after crisis foisted on us. Whatever the reason for doing so why now in the middle of this. It creates uncertainty when business are already struggling,” he said.

"We want our bank, there is a cash economy in rural towns,” he said.

Killorglin Chamber Alliance also expressed their concern saying that it effectively closed the bank in the town which would have huge implications for businesses. 

Mayor of Kerry, Cllr John Francis Flynn, said this week that AIB did the right thing by reversing the decision. He and other political representatives had planned a protest in Killorglin for Saturday, July 30 for rural communities across Kerry to come together to show their anger at AIB’s cashless plans. 

While Cllr Flynn said it is good news that AIB have done a U-Turn he is very cautious about the decision and fears that they will continue with plans to make banks cashless in the future. 

"I am cautiously worried. Only political pressure and people power reversed this decision for now but it could be something they will look at in the future but it is good news for you.” 

Deputy Brendan Griffin welcomed the u-turn on Friday. 

"It is a positive development for our rural communities. We need to continue to stand up and make sure that there are not further plans in the future to pull the stunt that was attempted this week.” 

Minister Foley said:

“I wholeheartedly welcome the announcement by AIB today not to proceed with cashless banking in 70 branches, 5 of which are in Kerry. It is absolutely the right decision. This is positive news for so many people, businesses and communities that depend on banks across the country.”


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