Wicklow People (Arklow) - - FRONT PAGE - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

THE com­mu­nity of Ti­na­hely is lead­ing the way in a protest against cuts to banking ser­vices in ru­ral branches of Bank of Ire­land.

The newly formed Ti­na­hely Ac­tion Group Against Bank Ser­vice Cuts has vowed to rail against the re­moval of counter ser­vices in Ti­na­hely. Sim­i­lar ser­vice cuts are planned for Rath­drum and Carnew from Au­gust 2 and af­ter­noon counter ser­vices will no longer be avail­able in Arklow, Balt­in­glass and Grey­stones.

For­eign cur­rency ex­change and coin trans­ac­tion ser­vices will no longer be avail­able in Ti­na­hely, Rath­drum and Carnew.

Lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives have voiced sup­port for the cam­paign and re­cently Wick­low TDs Pat Casey, John Brady and An­drew Doyle along with Cllr Vin­cent Blake, de­liv­ered a let­ter of protest to Bank of Ire­land head­quar­ters.

‘Whilst the bank will re­main open for gen­eral busi­ness and as an ad­vice cen­tre di­rect­ing its cus­tomers to use on­line banking and ATM ser­vices, its ar­bi­trary de­ci­sion to with­draw cashier ser­vices with­out con­sul­ta­tion or com­mis­sion­ing an im­pact as­sess­ment, has an­gered the com­mu­nity,’ said a spokesper­son for the lobby group. ‘Meet­ings with ju­nior bank man­age­ment has proved fu­tile, with the bank un­will­ing to com­pro­mise in any way. Not chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sions of banks that af­fect the lives of or­di­nary peo­ple has be­come the norm. But for Ti­na­hely, the choice was sim­ple, say noth­ing, go away, don’t make a fuss and be grate­ful for what was on of­fer and watch busi­ness drift away, was not an op­tion. Rather the com­mu­nity have de­cided to stand up, speak out and chal­lenge the im­per­sonal banking strate­gies, that are be­ing rolled out all around the coun­try,’ the spokesper­son added.

A pe­ti­tion has been launched as well as so­cial me­dia pages and the group says that ‘Ti­na­hely is not go­ing qui­etly’.

Bank of Ire­land how­ever, has said that just three per cent of trans­ac­tions are now com­pleted over the counter and that the de­ci­sion to re­duce cashier ser­vices has been made in re­sponse to the change in how the ma­jor­ity of cus­tomers con­duct their busi­ness.

A spokesper­son said that cus­tomers who wish to avail of counter ser­vices can be di­rected to an­other nearby branch if re­quired.

Deputies John Brady, An­drew Doyle and Pat Casey and Cllr Vin­cent Blake de­liv­er­ing the let­ter of protest re­gard­ing the ser­vice cuts to Bank of Ire­land head­quar­ters.

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