Cllr Felim Gurn, Cathaoirleach of Manorhamilton MD, Cllr Sean McDermott and Cllr Frank Dolan, are pictured at the Bank of Ireland ATM in Manorhamilton Picture: James Molloy
The impending loss of the Bank of Ireland ATM in Manorhamilton will result in an estimated annual loss to the local economy in the region of €24m.
At this week's Manorhamilton Municipal District meeting, two motions were raised highlighting the need to retain an on-street ATM in the town.
Cllr Frank Dolan and Cllr Padraig Fallon both proposed that the Municipal District write to the Bank of Ireland asking them to consider leaving the ATM operational after the branch closes this September.
Cllr Fallon also proposed that the MD also engage with Allied Irish Bank and Manorhamilton Credit Union to ensure an on-street ATM is made available if Bank of Ireland do not keep theirs operational.
Cllr Dolan described attempts to organise protests against the closure of the branches as “a bit foolish” and said that people had told him the real issue wasn't the closure of the branch but the loss of the ATM.
He said the closure of the town's only on-street ATM will be “a huge loss” but pointed out “it is no big ask to expect Bank of Ireland to provide the ATM and continue to service it (after September's closing date)”.
Cllr Padraig Fallon acknowledged there was “not a great deal of sympathy for the Bank of Ireland” because of their moves to “constantly reduce the services on offer to customers”. However he said the ATM was vital for the town and in particular to shops and businesses.
He accepted it was unlikely that the Bank of Ireland will delay the closure of the Manorhamilton branch but said that something needs to be done to ensure an on-street ATM remains.
He said he asked Sligo-Leitrim Deputy Martin Kenny to speak with AIB about the prospect of putting an on-street ATM in Manorhamilton and this proposal “has been passed on to the AIB ATM team”.
Presenting figures to the meeting, Cllr Felim Gurn said that in the catchment area of some 1,100 to 1,500 people, the ATM provided an important service. He estimated the presence of the ATM generated €24m in revenue for the local economy and pointed out that the remaining ATMs in the town were all located inside businesses and were not available to customers outside of opening hours.
“There would be no problem with the closure of the Bank of Ireland ATM if AIB or the Post Office were providing an on-street ATM but this isn't the case. Once the Bank of Ireland ATM is closed people will have to go to Sligo to take money out at night and that's unacceptable,” he said.
He admitted it was difficult to understand the impact the loss of the on-street ATM will have on the town “until it goes, then we'll know how important it was”.
“At the moment much of the hospitality and retail sector is closed and we don't know when we will be allowed to reopen. But, if there is no on-street ATM when that happens it will have a serious impact on businesses,” he warned.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Sean McDermott pointed out that, along with providing cash, the on-street ATM also allowed people to make deposits and get balances.
“These services will also be lost when the ATM goes from Bank of Ireland,” he said.
Cllr Mary Bohan said the onus is now on AIB to provide an on-street ATM from September but she also backed the previous call to see if Bank of Ireland would consider leaving their ATM operational.
Cllr Justin Warnock acknowledged that he was “very worried” for businesses in the area reliant on the night time economy.
Councillors unanimously agreed to write to AIB and Bank of Ireland to secure on-street ATM services.