Major anger over bank closureS “We bailed out the banks, now they’re bailing out on us”

Members of the communities of North Cork and South Limerick have roundly condemned the impending closure of Bank of Ireland branches in Bruff, Kanturk, Millstreet, Mitchelstown, Rathkeale, Abbeyfeale, Askeaton, Caherdavin, and University of Limerick, writes John Barrett. The news has caused mounting concern that communities throughout the country will be left with no local bank.

Mark Nagle of Nagle’s Eurospar in Bruff was especially scathing in condemning the closure of the local branch of Bank of Ireland: “This just marks another erosion of services in small rural towns and is completely unacceptable given that we, as taxpayers, bailed out the banks after the crash, now they’re bailed out on us when we need the services the most,” he told the Vale Star.
“The political silence has been deafening and the story hardly even made the front page of the national newspapers. Limerick and Cork seem to have been particularly affected – seven branches closing in County Limerick and nine in County Cork. The fact that all of this is being done under the cover of a pandemic represents a really cynical move by Bank of Ireland.
“The impending closure here in Bruff is another huge blow to South and East Limerick”, the well-known local supermarket owner and community activist added.
One of three local pharmacists in Bruff, David Wallace feels that the closures make no sense, “This will be a massive hit to all the local businesses and the community as a whole. The only reason people are using cards is because of Covid -19. When everybody is vaccinated, people will revert back to using cash again and will have nowhere to go locally for their banking needs.
“A large portion of the population are now working from home, which is fantastic, and this is set to continue into the future. So, it makes no sense that these people are leaving the cities for the country to work from home and now they have to return to the city to do their banking,” he said.
Councillor Michael Collins, Lord Mayor of Limerick City and County Council, said, “This is very disappointing news that Bank of Ireland are to close local branches, citing a drop in footfall. What do they expect in a pandemic when we’re all being told to stay at home? It’s important that all customers of BOI contact them and let their views be known. I believe it’s a retrograde step by the bank group.”
Gerard Hehir, manager of Bruff Credit Union, is also concerned by the move: “It is very disappointing that the BOI is finally closing its doors in Bruff. Even though it drastically reduced services in the town, the bank was still a great asset to have,” he told the Vale Star.
“We will treat the closure as a great opportunity for Bruff Credit Union, and we will step up to provide improved financial services in the community. I know that, along with the local post office, the people of Bruff and the surrounding communities will be well served going forward.”
The one good item of news from the impending closures is that Bank of Ireland has an agreement with An Post to handle lodgements and withdrawals in post offices nationwide. (read further coverage inside)