Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has accused AIB of abandoning communities and criticised the its decision this week to remove cash services from its Lismore, Tramore, Ardkeen and Carrick-on- Suir branches. The move will affect a total of 70 branches across the state. The Sinn Féin council group leader has drafted a motion calling on the Minister for Finance to take action, which will come before the next meeting of the Dungarvan-Lismore District Council.
“The news broke this week that AIB will be making many of their banks cashless, including branches that serve customers and communities across Waterford. This is a terrible decision, which will mean communities in Waterford are left with no cash or ATM services and people will be forced to travel long distances to access banking services.
“Due to this decision, people in across Waterford will have to travel significant distances to access a branch with full cash services. This is an unacceptable and unfair burden to place on people.
“While AIB cite increased digital usage as one reason for these changes, there are many vulnerable customers in our communities, especially living in rural areas, who are effectively abandoned when decisions like these are made. Accessing cash is a fairly basic service provided by any Bank and the loss of these services will impact on customers and businesses.
“AIB has attempted to justify this decision to reduce banking services on the grounds of reduced use by consumers – but this pays little regard to the impact the pandemic had on consumers using face-to-face services. The Central Bank has noted the importance that cash continues to play in our economy and for social inclusion. Many people need to bank using cash for various reasons.
“AIB can’t walk away from our communities when we, the Irish people, bailed this bank out to the tune of €20.7 billion. It is now abandoning the very communities it claims to support. Their actions are totally unacceptable particularly as the state owns 69% of this Bank.
“The government’s reaction to this news so far has been simply to shrug. Where is the Minister for Finance? Why is the government allowing AIB to treat its customers and communities with such distain?
“It is time for the government to act and tell AIB that after a €20.7 billion state bailout it can’t walk away and abandon communities without banking services. This decision cannot be allowed to go ahead. Our communities deserve better.”