Bank of Ireland has been accused of “speaking out of both sides of its mouth” in relation to the proposed closure of its branch in Moville.
Councillor Martin Farren (Labour) made the charge at yesterday afternoon's online Inishowen Municipal District meeting.
A visibly angry Cllr Farren said he had been pleased to hear that letters had been sent to Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh, from Donegal County Council's new Chief Executive John McLaughlin, on behalf of both the IMD and the Plenary Council, seeking a reversal of the proposed Moville branch closure.
Cllr Farren said: “The proposed closure of the Moville branch of Bank of Ireland is something which we need to keep at the very top of the Council's agenda.
“I have been contacted by countless numbers of concerned people who depend on this branch and I know I have the full support of my fellow councillors on this issue.
“It is extremely important we try to keep the Bank of Ireland branch open in Moville, for obvious reasons. As I have said many times before, Moville is a bustling seaside town and Bank of Ireland now even talking about removing the ATM machines.
“Bank of Ireland is telling customers that a high percentage of the bank's services can be carried out at Post Offices. Yet we are now being told by the Irish Postmasters' Union there is a possibility that 200 post offices could close down this year if funding is not made available by the Government.
“So, on the one hand Bank of Ireland is telling us not to worry because their services will continue but on the other hand, there is a possibility the post offices are going to close down.
“As far as I am concerned, Bank of Ireland is speaking out of both sides of its mouth.”
Cllr Farren added he was seeking “clarification” on the issue of post office closures and a concomitant reduction in Bank of Ireland services.
He added: “I have no doubt Donegal County Council Chief Executive John McLaughlin will do everything in his power to try to solve this proposed bank closure at the end of September.
“I think it is absolutely scandalous that this proposed closure should happen. It is up to public representatives to try to ensure it does not go ahead.
“I have spoken to Labour's Ged Nash TD [Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform] and Minister Charlie McConalogue, who have given their full support.
“I cannot stress enough how important this issue is. When you think, when the banks were in difficulty a number of years ago, they got millions of euro of taxpayers money to keep them open. And proposed branch closures is the way we have been repaid.
“I sometimes wonder if the people who made this decision about the closure on the Moville branch of the Bank of Ireland and all of the other branches had not got the millions of euro of the taxpayers, would they be in jobs today themselves?
“They do not give a damn about rural Ireland. They are blaming the closures on lack of footfall, but, people were restricted to their homes during the pandemic, so what does Bank of Ireland expect but a reduction in footfall?”
Cllr Farren's remarks were supported by Cllr Martin McDermott.
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