By David Brophy
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has described today’s announcement of branch closures across the island by Bank of Ireland as the wrong decision at the worst possible time, with serious consequences for customers and staff.
His comments come after the Bank of Ireland group announced the closure of 103 branches in the Republic of Ireland and Nothern Ireland.
“This comes in the teeth of a global pandemic and less than two weeks after Ulster Bank announced its withdrawal from the southern market. It is a huge blow for customers and staff.
“Bank of Ireland has attempted to justify this announcement based on a fall in branch visits over the past twelve months. This is hardly surprising given the entire population has had its movements significantly restricted in response to a public health emergency," the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance said.
“Today’s announcement by the Bank of Ireland was not strategic, but a knee-jerk reaction that cannot be justified. They should reverse this decision immediately and commit to a moratorium on branch closures until the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
The taxpayer poured €4.7 billion into Bank of Ireland during the financial crisis - the least the Irish people deserve from the bank is respect," he added.
The Financial Services Union has described Bank of Ireland's decision to close branches across the island of Ireland as shameful and an act of betrayal to loyal staff and customers.
"The announcement this morning by Bank of Ireland to close 103 branches will shock both staff and customers alike," said John O'Connell, General Secretary.
"How can Bank of Ireland think it is appropriate to make this announcement when the country is in the middle of a pandemic. It is a shameful act which needs to be reversed," he stated.