“THE people bailed the banks out when they were stuck, but when we are stuck it is goodbye, and move on."
Independent TD for Cork South-West Michael Collins expressed his anger and toldit was a "sad day" as nine Bank of Ireland branches in Cork closed their doors for the last time on Friday evening.
The branches are Munster Technological University, Glanmire, Bantry, Cobh, Dunmanway, Kanturk, Millstreet, Mitchelstown, and Youghal. The nine branches are among a total of 88 branches to close nationwide.
The closure of the Bank of Ireland branch in Bantry means customers now have to visit Skibbereen or Kenmare, distances of 28.5km and 44.7km away respectively, while Cobh has lost its branch which opened in 1890.
Bank of Ireland said the changes were in response to significant trends in how people are banking.
Bank of Ireland said an arrangement with An Post, to allow for lodgements and withdrawals, will ensure account holders can continue to conduct transactions at more than 900 post offices around the country.
Bank of Ireland also said it will continue to operate with 169 branches nationwide, including 18 in Cork.
Mr Collins added: “It is a sad day for communities across Cork. It is another kick in the teeth for rural Ireland. It is a huge blow for the people of Bantry and Dunmanway. They have spent many loyal years supporting the Bank of Ireland and they have been let down. The banks have turned their back on them,” he said.
Deputy Collins said Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and the Government have to take some responsibility for the closure of more than a third of their branches nationwide. “Minister Donohoe came out with sympathy, but sympathy doesn’t pay the bills. The Minister has to play a bigger role and the Government has to take some responsibility for the closure of these banks. The banks have simply washed their hands. Where is it going to end?
“It is very unsettling and a huge inconvenience for people. Nobody wants to move from their bank as people are loyal. However, they are not loyal to you when it suits them,” he added.
Cork East TD Sean Sherlock said the decision by the Bank of Ireland will "rip the heart" out of commercial life in provincial Ireland. “This decision by Bank of Ireland will have the effect of ripping the heart out of the commercial life of provincial Ireland and that is not the direction that we want to go in. I think it needs to be reversed."
The Labour TD said he is fearful the closure of nine branches throughout Cork city and county will diminish the commercial life of those towns that are affected.
"We called on the Bank of Ireland and the Government to come together with a view to revising these decisions but they didn’t. It was not enough for the Minister for Finance to say that this is a matter for a commercial entity such as the Bank of Ireland to manage their own affairs. It further diminishes the commercial life of towns, and life in general within those towns.”