AIB Embarking on the Same Road Taken by Bank of Ireland ?

Cllr. Charlie Farrelly outside the intact AIB in Castleisland today after this morning’s announcement that its traditional banking services were to be curtailed to the extent that customers are being advised to make off their nearest branch in Tralee. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Cara Credit Union staff member raising the county flag today ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final against Galway. Included from left: Philip O’Connor, Hannah Maunsell, Patrick Burke, manager; Cora Whooley and Niall Donohue. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The hole in the wall where the hole in the wall should be. The aftermath of the November 2010 early morning raid on the AIB branch in Castleisland. The next removal of the service will be a bit more clinical. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Where we are and where to go. Courtesy of the AIB which came with today’s announcement.

One could be forgiven for thinking that there’s a curse on rural Ireland these days and maybe there is.

It is certain that the humiliation of rural Ireland, which has been underway for some time now, took another bold, cold step today on its relentless march towards the future.

A future which is becoming more confusing and uncertain with every strike against the people living outside the pampered centres of population while our government stands idly by.

Castleisland in Shock Again

Castleisland was shocked in early October last year when the Bank of Ireland finally closed its doors after months of speculation. For most of that time of uncertainty its spokespeople were able to hide behind the confusion caused by the Covid lock-down.

Now the people of the town are mostly incredulous that the AIB, another financial institution, a cornerstone of the economy of the entire area in the good old days, is also lowering its colours and with it the morale of the area.

Co-incidental of Course

It was co-incidental of course, but today, as the doors of the AIB closed for business for the day and on the day when it was announced that the bank is preparing to lower its colours in rural centres nationwide, directly across the street the staff of Cara Credit Union were hoisting their county colours. It was co-incidental of course.

The people of Castleisland and the good people of the surrounding villages who have been sound supporters of business here for generations, know that the writing is on the wall for them in terms of the business of banking as we knew and understood it.

The AIB may linger on here for a while but the road its directors have embarked on today looks depressingly familiar – and we all remember the shuffling choreography of the Bank of Ireland closure last autumn. We’re not fools.

The Ranks of Conspiracy Theorists

The cashless society we’re being driven towards now has parallels only with the likes of the Serengeti where crocodiles lie, jaws agape, in wait at the river crossing points for the zebra and wildebeest and so on.

Conspiracy theorists, and their ranks are swelling lately and they’re not all mad, would ask why people are being pushed towards a cashless society, living in all electric houses, driving electric cars when all the experts are predicting shortages of energy with electricity outages deemed very likely over the coming months and maybe years.

One Man and His Dog

They’re well aware of the climate issues and they understand that we must all do our bit, but funneling people into these cramped corners of helplessness seems to be the policy of the day. One man and his dog comes to mind.

“I wouldn’t fancy being a government politician heading into any of the upcoming elections based on the relentless beating rural Ireland is getting from them at present,” was how one local put it today as the news of the AIB scale down filtered through.

Go to Tralee or Listowel

Cllr. Charlie Farrelly said that it’s another very bad day for Castleisland and business here.

“People will have to go to Tralee or Listowel now to carry on the kind of banking most of them understand. There are people here and everywhere who will not have anything to do with bank cards and those people are being left high and dry by the banks they have invested in all their lives. That’s your thanks for loyalty now,” said Cllr. Farrelly.

Below is today’s good luck and thanks statement from the AIB.

The Statement from AIB

Our services are changing: We are making changes to the services we offer at some of our branches.

From 30 September and 21 October 2022, some of our branches will no longer offer cash and cheque services at the counter, or through machines inside the branch.

This means we will not have notes, coins, cheques, foreign exchange, bank drafts; and will remove any drop safes and night safes.

If there is an ATM outside the branch where services are changing, that will also be removed.

As always, we will be here to support all our customers to answer any questions and help them open an account, buy a new home, take out a business or personal loan, or save or invest their money. Kiosk Banking and Phone Banking services will still be available at these branches.”

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