Local Sinn Féin Deputy, Sorca Clarke, has welcomed the announcement that AIB will not proceed with their decision to make many branches cashless and praised local communities for standing up for their services.
The original decision would have detrimentally impacted upon many branches in the Deputy’s constituency and forced local customers to travel distances to avail of basic banking services.
“I welcome that AIB have reversed their decision. This is the right thing to do. Their decision to make these branches cashless was short-sighted and poorly thought out. It would have caused major problems for customers here in Westmeath, including vulnerable people and businesses, by forcing them to travel long distances for basic services. It should never have been allowed to get this far.
“It is clear that the Future of Banking in Ireland Review is urgently required and must include close examination of local banking services, and the role of the Credit Union sector, to ensure that customers are not subjected to this unacceptable stress again. Customers in Westmeath deserve to know that they will be treated fairly by their bank and that an appalling situation like this will not be allowed to happen in the future.
“The Government have evidently been caught on the hop and need to explain why this was the case. Customers need to know exactly how this debacle came about and need reassurance that it will not happen again. This means that the Finance Committee meeting on this matter must still go ahead, so that customers can get these vital answers and assurances from the Finance Minister and senior AIB figures. Sinn Féin are committed to standing up for customers to ensure that they are treated fairly and with respect.
“The Government are majority shareholders in AIB and need to assert their role in ensuring banks service communities. Our communities in Westmeath deserve to access services locally and to be treated fairly by these banks.
“I want to commend communities across Westmeath who stood their ground and refused to allow corporate interests to hollow out the services upon which they rely. By working together and refusing to back down, they have ensured that these vital services do not leave the Midlands. People power has won out,” Teachta Clarke asserted.