Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Cllr John Feely shocked and dismayed at decision by Bank of Ireland to close Belleek branch.

Published: 21 July, 2016

Sinn Féin Councillor for Erne North, John Feely, has expressed shock and dismay at Bank of Ireland announcement today to close eight branches, including the Belleek branch of the bank.

Speaking from Belleek, Councillor Feely said:

"Bank of Ireland have announced today that they are going to close eight branches, including our local branch in Belleek.

"I find it shocking that they claim that they are closing branches where the volume of business is insufficient to sustain them.

"I regularly visit the Belleek branch and it is always busy. I have never been at the branch without there being a number of people there.

"So the excuse by Bank of Ireland appears to be empty and unbelievable.

"In 2014 Bank of Ireland downgraded services in Belleek by only allowing cash transactions three days a week.

"I was against this at the time as I suspected that they may have been purposefully running down services with future plans to close.

"If the Belleek branch shuts it's doors this will leave our nearest banks over twenty miles away in Irvinestown and Enniskillen.

"Whilst I understand that with modern technology a move toward online banking services can work to some extent; in a rural area like ours with poor broadband and mobile services this is very bad news and the branch is crucial to carrying out transactions.

"This announcement today is terrible for customers and the community in general.

"My heart goes out to the excellent staff in Belleek are facing an uncertain future. It is important that management keep in contact with staff throughout this process and that the rights and entitlements of workers are protected and that staff are offered retraining or upskilling opportunities. These are more jobs lost in an area that already sees the majority of the population travelling to find work.

"I have been in contact with Bank of Ireland today to express my concerns and to ask them to reconsider their decision. I have asked them to take into account the rural and isolated nature of Belleek.

"I have expressed my dismay with them of this decision particularly when they are expected to announce very healthy profits at the end of this month." - Ends/Críoch