Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says Bank of Ireland’s decision to withdraw key services from branches across the country as a huge insult to rural residents.

The bank has withdrawn over the counter services from 100 branches as it moves to more technology driven services.  This has resulted in changes to cash services and a reduction in other in-branch facilities.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “Over the past number of weeks Bank of Ireland has begun removing its over the counter services in branches across the country leading to much frustration among the affected communities.  Business people and farmers have been particularly inconvenienced by the move – especially with regard to limits on cash lodgements and withdrawals.  Many are now finding that they’re having to travel to other towns to carry out day-to-day banking services.

“Farmers regularly expect to withdraw sums greater than their ATM limits to buy cattle and sheep, but as a result of the bank’s downgrading, they will no longer be able to do this.  New restrictions on lodgements are also posing problems for businesses in these towns and villages.

“I am also deeply disappointed by the bank’s decision to phase out the Irish language option on its ATM machines.  The bank’s announcement that the newer machines, which allow for lodgement and withdrawals, will not offer customers the option of conducting their banking through Irish is symptomatic of the attitude of Bank of Ireland to its customer base.

“These decisions are deeply insulting to people living in rural areas and Irish speakers nationwide.  The service cutbacks are a major inconvenience for businesses and farmers in these areas.  I am calling on the Ministers for the Gaeltacht and Rural & Community Development to meet the banks urgently to outline their displeasure at these decisions”.