Farming groups in Clare and elsewhere say their members are being ‘picked on’ by Bank of Ireland, and its decision to close over 100 branches in Ireland.
Three branches in this county – Kilkee, Miltown Malbay and Tulla – are set to close their doors for the final time from September.
Unions described yesterday’s closure announcement of 88 branches nationwide, including three here in Clare, as ‘a bolt from the blue’ – though concern had previously been expressed in Kilkee, Miltown Malbay and Tulla about the future of their branches.
Bank of Ireland say a partnership with An Post will see it offer banking services at over 900 locations, but this hasn’t been enough to appease critics.
The IFA say the move is a ‘slap in the face’ to farmers and rural communities, and is seeking an urgent meeting with Bank of Ireland for further clarity on the situation.
Rosaleen O Reilly, who’s the IFA Farm Business Committee Rep for Clare, believes the move is going to lead to a higher costs of borrowing for farmers.
Residents of the three Clare towns impacted by the closures will also lose their on-street ATMs once the branches close.
In Kilkee, however, as there is no other nearby ATM, the bank will look to facilitate an alternative.
Meanwhile, the Junior Agriculture Minister says the government won’t be putting pressure on Bank of Ireland to change its plans, calling the move a ‘devastating commercial decision’.
Speaking on Clare FM’s Morning Focus, Minister of State Pippa Hackett says issues in the sector may lead to the government examining a public banking model in the future.