Sinn Féin MLA, Conor Murphy and his colleague, Councillor Aoife Finnegan, both voiced disappointment and concern at the decision to permanently close the Bank of Ireland Branch in Crossmaglen.
Conor Murphy said:
“I am extremely disappointed that the Bank has decided to press ahead with the decision to close branches during the pandemic. Sinn Féin have repeatedly urged banks to wait until the pandemic is over before making these decisions.
The banks have cited an increased move by customers to online banking as one of the motivations for this decision. However, it must be remembered that there is still a considerable number of people who are unable to access these services. Particularly in rural areas.
It is important that rural communities are taken into account when these decisions are being made to prevent them from becoming further isolated from their essential services.”
Councillor Aoife Finnegan echoed her colleagues view, stating that:
“This decision is a huge blow for our rural community. The banks have said that Post Office’s will be able to fill the gap in the services provided to the affected communities. However, in some areas there is no Post Office at all and the communities which have an uncertain future with the Post office being relegated to a counter in a shop corner.
People will still be able to lodge cash and cheques and use other banking services at the Post Office here in Crossmaglen but it is vital that if bank branches are to close in rural areas that the Post Offices will be protected to ensure that more services do not disappear from our already isolated rural communities.”