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AIB branches in Wicklow town and Greystones set go cashless from September

The move on top of Ulster Bank’s exit from the Irish market and Wicklow towns, leaves very little options for obtaining cash in the Garden County.

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Cllr Paul O'Brien, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District.

Cllr Paul O'Brien, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District.

Cllr Paul O'Brien, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District.

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THE Allied Irish Bank (AIB) branches in Wicklow town and Greystones will no longer offer cash and cheque services at the counter, or through machines inside the bank, from September 30.

The banks will no longer have notes, coin, cheques, foreign exchange or bank drafts and any drop or night safes will also be removed, alongside the ATM outside the bank.

AIB said it is making the change as part of a €40m investment programme and as it deepens relationship with An Post. Several other banks throughout the country will also be going cashless this year.

AIB stated that the decision was based on falling levels of cash usage and cheque transactions, and a rise in the popularity of non-cash alternatives such as digital and card payments. The cost of security and handling cash has also risen.

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Cllr Paul O’Brien. The Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District, has criticised the timing of the announcement, while the country is in the middle of a cost of living crisis and still struggling with Covid.

“This decision will have a particular impact on senior citizens who regularly use the bank. Generally, a lot of more senior citizens wouldn’t have online banking or Wi-Fi, and are reliant on calling into the bank to withdraw cash for their groceries.

“The timing couldn’t be any worse. People are coping with rising cost of living costs and the number of Covid cases has also been on the rise again. Now AIB are making it even harder on people by removing an invaluable service. Arklow is the next nearest AIB but you can’t expect people from Wicklow town and environs to travel that sort of distance, especially for people who may not have access to a car.”

Greystones Municipal District Councillor Stephen Stokes said he has already written to AIB seeking a reversal of this decision.

“Many people will feel that this is one step from a total closure,” he said.  “While I accept we live in an increasingly digital society, cash services are still vital for many businesses, and people more trusting of cash.

 "Cash is also still used widely by elderly people, who may feel safer coming into their branch. I acknowledge that many cash services are to be merged to An Post. However An Post does not currently have an ATM service in Greystones, so that's a big loss on its own."

Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore, explained that the problem is wider than just AIB’s move, with Ulster Bank removing all its services from Blessington and Bray also. She said it means that of all the major towns in Wicklow, only Bray and Arklow will retain cash services from September.

She added: “I am strongly against this move and am calling on the Minister for Finance to act and meet with AIB to discuss this unpopular move in the hopes that the bank will retain essential services at towns like Greystones and Wicklow which has seen huge population increases and where many small businesses are located.

“This is a very short-sighted move by AIB which has made this decision just as we emerge from two years of Covid lockdown, and in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. People need more one-to-one bank services, not less."


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