AN ACTION committee in Dromcollogher who are campaigning against the proposed closure of the local AIB branch have vowed to escalate their protest, despite the bank’s refusal to soften its stance.
Almost two months have passed since the bank controversially announced its plans to begin closing branches across the country in a bid to cut costs.
Locally, the decision sparked protest meetings in communities such as Dromcollogher, Foynes and Glin, where residents have voiced fears for the future of rural cash businesses.
In Dromcollogher, the protest committee has met with local and regional management at AIB and has sought discussions with the bank’s directors and chief executive, David Duffy.
One Dromcollogher businessman involved in the campaign, but who wished to remain anonymous because he is an AIB customer, said that despite getting “no answers yet” from management, locals are as determined as ever to keep up the fight.
“The removal of this facility will certainly deter future business. The Dromcollogher and district community supports a vibrant respite and day care centre, along with many other industries. These businesses and industries need a bank to conduct their daily business. It is very clear that AIB’s slogan ‘Supporting local communities’ has to be seen as a joke.”
At present, petitions are being circulated around the Dromcollogher-Broadford parish and in nearby villages, while protest billboards have been erected in the area.
The businessman said that there are in excess of 12,000 people living in the wider Dromcollogher area, and the “vast majority” of these are AIB customers due to the bank’s historical presence in the town.
He said that if the branch closes as planned, cash businesses like his will have to take considerable risks to drive to Newcastle West to deposit their takings.
“How is it acceptable in this day and age to be expected to drive ten miles at your own risk and park halfway across town to make large cash bank lodgements, when we currently have a working bank within our community?
“The powers that be say this is a commercial decision without political influence, but when a commercial decision has such dire consequences on local communities it becomes political.”