Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen has called for assurances that the temporary Bank of Ireland branch closures in Banagher and Clara will not become permanent or lead to any downgrading of services.
Deputy Cowen made the call as many smaller bank branches have been forced to shut during the public health emergency and locals in the Offaly towns are concerned that they may not reopen.
Deputy Cowen has written to the Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland calling for assurances that the branches closed during the COVID-19 pandemic will be reopened as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
He said, “These banking services are so important to towns and villages across Offaly, particularly now that moves are being made for the gradual reopening of shops and certain businesses.
“Now that the reopening roadmap has been published, I would like clarity from Bank of Ireland as to when it envisages the reopening of its branches in Offaly, and across the country.
“I know that locals have worked around the current arrangements, but withdrawal and lodgement facilities are obviously crucial to communities and serious issues can arise when the ATMs run out of cash or are out of service.
“There is a growing unease among businesses and individuals that these temporary closures could be used as a means of closing the branches permanently as part of a larger restructuring plan within the bank. This must be avoided at all costs and I would like some assurances from Bank of Ireland that this is not the case,” he concluded.