A Galway West TD has welcomed a decision by the Oireachtas Finance Committee to hold a meeting to discuss AIB’s announcement that 70 branches will cease cash services.
Mairéad Farrell TD said that she wrote to the Committee yesterday afternoon to request the meeting.
Farrell said that it is vital that we hear from the Finance Minister and senior AIB figures at the hearing, and that the Minister for Finance needs to set out when he learned of this plan by AIB to withdraw vital services from communities.
AIB announced on Tuesday that seven branches in Co. Galway will be made cashless later this year, with the bank claiming the demand for cash services is declining.
The seven branches in Galway to go cashless from 21 October are Ballinasloe, Clifden, Gort, Galway, Oranmore, Salthill, Spiddal and The Lab.
The bank is expanding its relationship with An Post in a move that will see customers being able to access more cash and cheque services in 920 post offices across the State.
But Deputy Farrell said that accessing cash is a fundamental service provided by any bank, and the loss of these services will impact on customers and businesses, especially vulnerable people and rural communities.
“We need to know why is the government allowing AIB to treat its customers and communities with such disdain,” the Sinn Féin TD said.
“As the majority shareholder in AIB, what communication did the bank have with the Minister in advance of this decision being made?
“And what communication has the Minister had with the bank since? It is vital that customers get answers to these crucial questions. Sinn Féin are committed to ensuring customers are treated fairly.
“AIB simply cannot be allowed to 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.”