THE closure of the Dunleer branch of Bank of Ireland has been met with dismay by many in the area including two local councillors with Sinn Fein’s Pearse McGeough describing the decision as ‘a slap in the face for Dunleer and rural Ireland’.
Independent Councillor Bernie Conlon, said that it was an “absolute disgrace” that the Bank of Ireland branch has shut in Dunleer.
“Now we’ve been reduced to having no bank branch in Dunleer. The population is growing and traders and business people will now have to travel to Drogheda, Dundalk or Ardee to go to a bank,” she said.
“There’s not even an ATM in Dunleer. The people of this country bailed out the banks and now the banks are bailing out on us.
“People like my parents are in their 80s and they aren’t banking online. They will be forced to go into the bigger towns.”
Bernie added: “The post office has partnered with Bank of Ireland so now residents and traders can use the post office for certain services but the hours are limited.
“We need an ATM in town so people can check their bank balance on a screen. It’s forcing people to go online.
“They are the most vulnerable people in our society. They might have health issues or they might not have access to transport.”
She continued: “And the social element is gone. After all the lockdowns older people are starting to venture out again but now, they can’t even get into a bank in Dunleer.
“There used to be queues on a Thursday at the ATM for people wanting to withdraw money. Dunleer was exceptionally busy. The banking staff were very disappointed with the closure. Their final day was a very emotional one.”
Sinn Fein’s Pearse McGeough said that ‘’the two finger salute was given to the older people and the vulnerable by Bank of Ireland’ and he stated that it was now imperative that an ATM was installed in the area.
Meanwhile a Bank of Ireland spokesperson told customers in Dunleer that they are now able to carry out banking services in their local post office thanks to a partnership between the two institutions.
“Bank of Ireland and An Post have announced that a range of local banking services are now live at 923 post office locations around Ireland. The partnership with An Post enables Bank of Ireland customers to carry out banking services at local post offices in communities across the country. Bank of Ireland customers can now make cash (notes and coin) lodgements and withdrawals, and cheque lodgements at An Post locations.
“The new partnership with An Post means that Bank of Ireland customers can now avail of banking services at their local post office – Dunleer has a post office and there are 23 more in the county,” read the statement.