AIB has today announced that it is not going ahead with plans for 70 bank branches to go cashless.
The bank made a U-turn on its plans after coming under sustained criticism from all sides in the past few days.
AIB announced earlier this week that branches in Ballinasloe, Clifden, Gort, Galway, Oranmore, Salthill, Spiddal and The Lab would go cashless from October.
In the days since the move was announced earlier this week, the plans have been severely criticised, including intervention from the Taoiseach.
Galway TD Claire Kerrane said that the move would severely affect vulnerable people living in rural areas.
“Accessing cash is a fairly basic service provided by any Bank and the loss of these services will impact on customers and businesses,” the Roscommon-Galway TD said.
“The removal of the ATMs in particular will make it much more difficult for customers accessing cash in these rural towns.”
Senator Seán Kyne had also said that it was an appalling decision, and unacceptable from a bank which is effectively owned by the taxpayer.
“The effects of this decision are extremely serious and impact on thousands of people,” he said.
Minister for Paschal Donohue today welcomed AIB’s decision not to go ahead with removing cash services from those branches.
“Banks have a key role in maintaining the flow of cash through the economy and ensuring appropriate access to retail banking services for all in society, including the vulnerable.”
“I note the significant public reaction to AIB’s announcement earlier this week and I welcome the Bank’s decision not to proceed with the proposed changes to customer services in certain branches.”