AIB is to close four branches in Mayo, a move which has received widespread criticism. The branches are located in Charlestown, Belmullet, Kiltimagh, and Ballyhaunis and they will cease trading on October 26 next.
According to Deputy John O’Mahony there will be no job losses, however he said “no amount of dressing up will lessen the effects on the communities”.
The bank has been accused of abandoning rural Ireland by Sinn Féin county councillor Gerry Murray, who also criticised the bank’s decision to increase its mortgage interest rate by half a percentage point just weeks after the ECB reduced its rate and AIB refused to pass the cut on to its customers.
The Belmullet Fianna Fáil comhairle cheantair has also expressed its shock and disappointment at AIB’s decision to shut down its branch in Belmullet.
“This will come as a great shock not just to the staff affected, but also to AIB customers in Belmullet who prefer to visit their local branch rather than banking online,” said the PRO of Fianna Fáil in Belmullet, Derek Reilly.
Ballina TD Dara Calleary raised the issue of accessibility for business and personal customers. “The decisions to close the only branch in Erris, an area the size of County Louth, and the concentration of closures in east Mayo - Ballyhaunis, Charlestown, and Kiltimagh branches are within a few miles of each other - are of particular concern.
“The branch closures are part of an ‘aggressive’ cost cutting plan by AIB. While there are no immediate job losses as a result of these decisions, AIB is committed to at least 2,500 redundancies by 2014. The Government must play a strong role in guaranteeing that those who lose their jobs at the State-owned bank are offered re-training and other supports to allow them remain in the workplace,” said Dep Calleary.
AIB mobile banking units are available in Mulranny, Achill Sound, Keel, Louisburgh, Leenane, Belmullett, and Bangor Erris.