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13 Aug 2022

BREAKING: Ballinamore Sean O'Heslins call on GAA to drop AIB as sponsors if local bank changes not reversed

AIB logo

Leitrim champions Ballinamore Sean O'Heslins have called on the GAA to immediately remove the AIB from the sponsorship of the GAA Club championships for 2022 unless the bank immediately reverses its decision to turn70 branches all over the country into cashless operations, including the branch in Ballinamore.

AIB announced the news on Tuesday that they would be moving to cashless operations in 70 branches all over the country, including the branch in Ballinamore meaning that from September 30 this year, the Ballinamore branch will not have notes, coins, cheques, offer foreign exchange, bank drafts; and will remove any drop safes and night safes.

In a blistering statement, Ballinamore Sean O'Heslins said "If AIB fails to reverse their decision we call on the GAA Central council to immediately remove AIB from the sponsorship of the GAA Club championships 2022 and to cease all partnerships with an organisation that clearly does not have the best interests of our communities at the forefront of its thinking and goes against the very ethos of the GAA."

The Ballinamore club, the most successful club in Leitrim GAA history, added "Again, it appears that rural and small communities will be impacted by a decision from an organisation that calls itself a 'GAA Supporter' and sponsor" before later adding "As an organisation that prides itself on being part of our community, we cannot stand ideally by while our community suffers due to a decision made to maximise profit at the detriment of the very people that 'Stand Tough' with us week in and week out, those very same people that support us that sponsor us that help us keep going."

The Ballinamore Sean O'Heslins GAA club statement in full is as follows:

Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins were deeply shocked at yesterday’s announcement from AIB that they are to remove banking services from our community and from many other communities across the length and breadth of our country.

Again, it appears that rural and small communities will be impacted by a decision from an organisation that calls itself a “GAA Supporter” and sponsor. In AIB’s latest advert for the GAA Club championships “Tough Can't Quit” they use the following taglines

“Why do we go on? Why do we get up when we fall?  Why do we keep going when we have no shot?”. “We carry on, we can’t stop, its who we are, these are our people, this is our club, we can’t walk away, it’s in our blood”.

Clearly the marketing people within AIB have a rose-tinted view of their own organisation that they can attempt to stand behind the words above and at the same time go against the very ethos of those statements with this decision.

It’s clear from the decision made by AIB to close 70 branches, a decision which will impact communities with upwards of 350 GAA clubs that operate in those very towns, villages, communities, and environs that we are clearly not their people and its clear they can just walk away and intend to do just that.

Let’s be clear this is not a cost saving exercise this is profit maximisation by an organisation that was bailed out by the government using revenue generated by the very communities they are now deserting.

This decision from AIB will have a detrimental impact on everyone in our communities including the vulnerable, at a time when we have a cost-of-living crisis the expectation is that people drive 30km or more to access banking facilities adding more cost is hard to fathom.

This is but one more attack on rural and small-town Ireland, business are already struggling to keep a float and now their will be added costs for them to operate, the loss of an ATM on the main street of the town will have a massive impact on the night economy and on the viability of our summer festivals, events and our tourist industry.

As an organisation that prides itself on being part of our community, we cannot stand ideally by while our community suffers due to a decision made to maximise profit at the detriment of the very people that “Stand Tough” with us week in and week out, those very same people that support us that sponsor us that help us keep going.

We will “Stand Tough” with our community, with our supporters, our sponsors, and the people the length and breadth of Ireland that have heard this news, we will stand with the staff of AIB many of whom may lose their livelihood.

Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins calls on AIB to stand by their words “Tough can’t quit” to reverse their decision and to stand with our communities.

If AIB fails to reverse their decision we call on the GAA Central council to immediately remove AIB from the sponsorship of the GAA Club championships 2022 and to cease all partnerships with an organisation that clearly does not have the best interests of our communities at the forefront of its thinking and goes against the very ethos of the GAA

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