Aontú Rep for Cork North West, Becky Kealy has raised serious concerns over the closure of Bank of Ireland & Ulster Bank branches, and the wider effects this will have on communities outside Dublin.

Becky Kealy:

“The decision by Bank of Ireland to close 103 branches across the 32 counties, follows right on the heels of Ulster Bank’s withdrawal from the Irish Banking Sector. The withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish Banking Sector saw Cork lose two banks. The closure of BOI’s branches in many counties saw Cork lose a further nine banks across the county. 11 Banks in so many months is a huge loss to our communities, and also to the Cork economy. Suddenly, there is much less choice for people in their personal banking and to even access a bank will now contain logistical challenges. It may now take hours for people in rural constituencies to travel to a bank to simply cash a cheque or make an inquiry. The Tánaiste glossed over further concerns that the transition to online banking disregards older and more rural communities, and that this transition will cost hundreds of jobs to local economies. “

“These closures and the withdrawal of Ulster Bank have now created an over concentration of power within the Irish banking sector. This means that these banks can dictate terms and requirements to consumers who have no other choice but to accept, with no fear of competition. Both banks pay no tax, and are very lucrative – whilst a third of the banking bailout sum remains unrecovered. The government cannot let the banking sector hurt the Irish people any longer.”