By Dan Walsh
Bank of Ireland has confirmed closure of 103 branches, including two in Wexford at Rosslare Harbour and Taghmon, while a large number in North Wexford will be affected by the loss of Carnew and Tinahely in south Wicklow and Borris and Tullow in Carlow.
The bank says that Covid-19 has accelerated a shift in the industry towards digital banking and the bank has signed a deal to allow personal and business customers use their local An Post office for certain services, including cash withdrawals and cash and cheque lodgements.
AIB and Ulster Bank, which is exiting the market, have similar partnerships with An Post.
“Sad day for the local area. Another attack on rural Ireland,” was how Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council Cllr Ger Carthy stated on hearing the news. “Bank of Ireland bailed out by Fianna Fàil and the Greens and now Rosslare Harbour and Taghmon banks allowed to shut under Fine Gael, Fianna Fàil and the Greens. Don’t forget this decision when they come to your door the next time,” he concluded.
Commenting of social media today, Cllr Jim Codd said “This is another attack on rural Ireland and will leave many people who are not comfortable using online banking hung out to dry.” Cllr Codd added; Four years ago hundreds of people signed a petition calling on Bank of Ireland to preserve the Taghmon branch when it looked in danger of closing. I plan on recreating this petition now and I am asking for volunteers to help. Rural Wexford cannot afford another blow like this and it’s clear that the powers to be using the current crisis to offload assets they no longer want to hold.”
This is another significant blow for rural Ireland following the loss of post offices and garda stations across County Wexford in recent years. And there are issues with the availability of broadband services with pockets having no broadband services at all.