Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that rural Ireland is being hollowed out, and that the Government’s inability to see past the M50 risks destroying rural communities in West Cork.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting after it was announced that Bank of Ireland will cease all counter services at its branch in Dunmanway.
“Rural Ireland’s death from a thousand cuts with successive reductions in services, both public and private, is happening right now.
“This decision by Bank of Ireland will do untold damage to the town.
“People like to be able to walk into their local bank branch and talk to a real person. This is very true for business people and older people.
“Automating every service cannot be the response to every challenge.
“I have written to the CEO of Bank of Ireland, Richie Boucher requesting that this decision is reversed, or at the very least, a limited counter service is made available to the residents of Dunmanway.
“How can we expect businesses to operate or families to settle in rural towns if there are no services? The Government’s strategy on rural Ireland is failing,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.
Local independent councillor and newly elected County Mayor Declan Hurley was also critical of the decision.
“Dunmanway is one of the first towns in Cork to be hit with Bank of Ireland changes as counter services are cut.
“I am very surprised and disappointed that Bank of Ireland have chosen to introduce a ‘no counter services’ option. I would be very concerned that introducing such a system will have a serious negative impact on local businesses in the town as they deal in coins on a daily basis.
“I also believe that moving to a ‘no counter service’ will be a great inconvenience to the general public, who expect and prefer a face to face service in the bank and I fear it will result in people travelling to other towns to use banks, which still provide over the counter coin services, which in turn will have a negative economic impact for the town of Dunmanway.
“I would ask Bank of Ireland that they would seriously reconsider introducing such an unfriendly method of banking for its customers,” he said.