Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughten has called for an alternative approach to banking in the wake of last week’s controversy over AIB’s plans to remove cash services from 70 branches, including the one in Castlerea.
Speaking after the bank bowed to public pressure and abandoned its plan to go cashless, Deputy Naughten welcomed the U-turn but said such banking services are under threat unless an alternative approach is taken.
“It must be noted that the planned withdrawal of cash services to Castlerea, Ballinasloe and 68 other locations comes on top of the closure last year of Bank of Ireland branches in Elphin, Strokestown, Ballygar and Dunmore,” stated Denis Naughten.
“These actions by banks that the Irish people bailed out just over a decade ago clearly show they have no regard for the sacrifices that families across the country were forced to take to save them from collapse. It is now time for the Government to urgently revisit the establishment of a State bank for SMEs and personal customers”.
Denis Naughten pointed out: “We have two distinct customer bases that are being excluded by the current two-bank model in this country, namely personal customers and small businesses. Both elements need to be addressed in a new banking model”.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy also welcomed AIB’s u-turn and said he and many of his party colleagues had pushed for such a “change of strategy”.
Senator Murphy commented: “There was widespread concern and deep disappointment when AIB announced plans to stop providing cash at many local branches.
“Myself and many of my Fianna Fáil party colleagues immediately sought a change of strategy from AIB on this deeply unfair move.
“I am pleased to see that AIB have now decided to change strategy and I will work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the voices of those most vulnerable are heard and that they get all the support they deserve and need”.