Anger over Laois AIB branch closures

BAILED-out Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has announced it is to shut down two branches in Laois. Portarlington is set to close its doors on October 26, with Abbeyleix set to close during the first half of 2013.

BAILED-out Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has announced it is to shut down two branches in Laois. Portarlington is set to close its doors on October 26, with Abbeyleix set to close during the first half of 2013.

The news has been greeted with dismay and anger locally. “This is a disgrace to our town,” commented Ann Dunne of the Portarlington Combined Residents Association.

However, AIB insist there will be little inconvenience to their customers in Portarlington and Abbeyleix, informing them that both branches will relocate to the branch at Lyster Square, Portlaoise.

In a message to customers Maeve Saunders, AIB Portarlington, explained, “I know that you may be disappointed to see your branch closing but I want to assure you that we will be making every effort to minimise any disruption an inconvenience. “Staff from Portarlington will move to Portlaoise, transferring all account records, so customers will not have to change anything. Account numbers, cheque books, direct debits, standing orders, ATM/debit cards and any credit facilities and terms on these facilities will remain exactly the same.”

An AIB spokeswoman insisted there will be no compulsory redundancies.

“Staff are going to be redeployed as part of the restructuring. We have around 346 people working in the affected branches. Not all of them are full-time members of staff,” she said.

The Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) described the announcement as ‘traumatic’ for the workforce.

General secretary Larry Broderick said the closures reflect a piecemeal dismantling of Ireland’s banking infrastructure.

“It will also come as a major shock to customers in these areas - who have come to rely on the service from their local branch,” said Mr Broderick.

**See Wednesday’s, August 1 edition of the Leinster Express for more.