RESIDENTS in County Limerick who have been left “shocked” and “disgusted” by the impending closure of eight AIB branches are being urged by public representatives to “mobilise” and “take to the streets” to demonstrate their disquiet.
A special meeting of Limerick County Council is to be held next Tuesday to discuss the decision taken by AIB to close branches in Hospital, Croom, Doon, Glin, Foynes, Dromcollogher, Corbally and William Street.
“With all the cuts across the board, and with the way people are being treated, I can see the people taking to the streets and I would be encouraging them to do that,” said Cllr Eddie Wade this week.
“I have had a lot of individuals including people in business on to me from Cappamore, Doon and the surrounding hinterland and they are totally bewildered with this announcement of closures,” continued the Drombanna-based councillor who was among a number of local councillors who called on cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Jerome Scanlan, to hold a special meeting to discuss the matter.
The councillors are urging the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, and the government to instruct AIB to reverse its decision to close the eight branches across the county.
The cathaoirleach has warned that the rural towns and villages in question will be “bereft of commercial activity in the event of the banks closing”.
“This issue hasn’t been thought through at all by AIB bank. They haven’t really sat down and thought through the repercussions of what they are proposing to do. I have called upon them to think again,” said Cllr Scanlan who was a business banker with Bank of Ireland prior to his retirement.
“People have a need to have human contact at a bank counter. What AIB are proposing essentially is that they will dispense with that in the most part but that is not feasible because most people aren’t IT compliant. There is a security risk with regard to keeping cash at home. A village has an ongoing need to access a bank for cash or to transact business and that has been overlooked in all of this.”
Since the announcement was made last week, a protest rally has taken place in Glin while protest meetings have taken place in both Dromcollogher and Foynes. Representatives from the village of Hospital are following suit with their own plan of campaign to get the decision to close their local bank reversed.
“There is a lot of anger amongst the people about it. There is no point talking about it – you have to go out and take action,” said Thomas Moore, manager of Costcutters in Hospital who described the news of the closure as “a shock to the system”.
* For the full story see the Limerick Leader print edition