Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív says communities in rural Ireland will be left without access to day to day banking facilities following the announcement by Ulster Bank that it’s to close 22 branches by the end of the year.

Two branches are to close in Galway – in Newcastle and Briarhill, while towns in Donegal, Mayo, Cavan, Monaghan, Offaly and Longford will be affected by the move.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “Today’s announcement will come as a major blow for communities who will be impacted by these closures.  Many of them have already seen other services in their towns reduced, and now their day to day banking will be severely curtailed.

“Ulster Bank wants customers to move to online services, but unfortunately this is not feasible for everyone.  Older people in particular will be affected by these closures; many of them want to go to their local branch and chat with a bank official about their accounts and their business.  Having to do this over the phone or online is not always an option for them.

“I am concerned that these closures mark the further erosion of services, in areas which have already seen substantial cuts.  The closures will not only see jobs lost in these communities, but it will also make it more difficult for these areas to attract new business.  A fully functional bank branch is a necessity for most businesses, and the loss of 22 around the country will have a detrimental impact on these communities.

“I will be engaging with Ulster Bank to establish if any of the branches earmarked for closure can be retained or if the bank will be providing additional services in other areas to assist people who want to continue to carry out their business in branch”.