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26 Sept 2022

 AIB names branches set to become cashless as TD slams 'tone deaf' move

 AIB names branches set to become cashless as TD slams 'tone deaf' move

AIB has confirmed a list of 70 bank branches of 170 nationwide which will be cashless by the end of October 2022. 

According to the bank, the decision is based on "falling levels of cash usage and cheque transactions" as well as a rise in the popularity of non-cash alternatives such as digital and card payments.

A page detailing the move on AIB's website also stated a rise in the cost of security and cash handling was also a factor. 

Branches which will be cashless by September 30 2022 include Abbeyfeale, Adare, Athy, Ballinamore, Ballybofey, Ballyshannon, Birr, Bishopstown, Buncrana, Caherciveen, Carndonagh, Carrigaline, Castleisland, Castlerea, Celbridge, Dingle, Dungloe, Edenderry, Ennistymon, Glanmire, Gorey, Greystones, Kenmare, Killaloe, Killorglin, Killybegs, Killmallock, Kilrush, New Ross, Raheen, Rathdowney, Shannon, Tubercurry, Tullow, Western Road, and Wicklow. 

Further branches will become cashless by October 21 2022, including Ardkeen, Athenry, Ballinasloe, Ballinrobe, Cahir, Carrikmacross, Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Castleblayney, Castletownbere, Claremorris, Clifden, Clonskeagh, Cobh, Cornelscourt, Dundrum, Dunmanway, Gort, Kanturk, Kells, Kinsale, Lismore, Longford, Millstreet, Mitchelstown, Oranmore, Rathfarnham, Roscrea, Salthill, Sandymount, Spiddal, the Lab, Tramore and Youghal. 

The move has been met by opposition, including from Labour's finance spokesperson, Ged Nash, and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), which says the change will put "further pressure" on rural towns. 

Speaking today (July 19), Deputy Nash called the decision "tone deaf". 

He said, "This tone deaf decision taken by executives of a majority State-owned bank who appear to be accountable to nobody is another nail in the coffin for relationship banking in Ireland.

"What makes it even more extraordinary is that this move was made when hundreds of thousands of Ulster Bank and KBC customers are looking for a new home for their accounts and in the middle of a government-led review into the future of retail banking." 

He continued: "Monumental decisions like this impact on vulnerable customers, especially those who may not be comfortable doing transactions digitally. 

"This will also have an impact on the commercial and social life of our towns. 

"Serious consideration must be given to a pause or moratorium on branch closures at least until such time as the review has been completed and policy decisions have been taken." 

Meanwhile, the president of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack, said the news was a "huge disappointment" for rural areas. 

He said, "While a lot of transactions are now online, the reality is that cash is still hugely important in the rural economy, for small country businesses and for the older generations in particular, the use of cash is critical and the local bank was hugely important in terms of accessing cash and doing the normal day to day transactions. 

"People are also concerned that the loss of cash services is just another step towards closure of the branch and it is important that AIB provide guarantees that this is not the case.

He continued: "The Government will have to ensure that ATMs remain available in rural towns and villages as without access to cash, the economic viability of these towns will be further undermined and this cannot be allowed to happen." 

A full list of alternative branches offering full cash services has been provided on AIB's website. 

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