Portarlington bank to close Friday

AMID a chorus of vehement opposition Portarlington will lose its branch of AIB as it closes it doors this Friday, October 26.

AMID a chorus of vehement opposition Portarlington will lose its branch of AIB as it closes it doors this Friday, October 26.

Efforts to persuade AIB management at the highest level to reverse or review their decision proved futile.

Senator John Whelan said he’ll be calling on Finance Minister Michael Noonan in the Seanad to intervene to ensure that all the implications arising out of the AIB bank closure in Port are considered and catered for at the very least.

Portarlington is one of 56 AIB branches poised for imminent closure and at Monday’s meeting of Laois County Council, Cllr Tom Mulhall received unanimous support for the writing of another letter to AIB imploring with them to reverse their decision.

“I know it is late in the day, but the doors are still open.”

Cllr Mulhall added that there would be devastating consequences from the closure as Port has a population of over 10,000 people and with ninety businesses in the town there are a huge amount of finanical transactions taking place daily.

Cllr Ray Cribbin asked if there was anyone of influence that change the minds of AIB management.

“It doesn’t make sense at all. It is a bad decision.”

Heading into the Bank Holiday weekend, Senator Whelan said this was the latest example of the scant regard AIB senior management have for their long and loyal customers.

He dismissed AIB’s partnership arrangement with An Post as unworkable as post offices are already stretched and experiencing long delays and queues.

Senator Whelan also suggested that security implications were not taken into account both for the post offices and the many business customers who will now be discommoded.

The AIB branch in Abbeyleix is also set to close in the first half of 2013 and Cllr John Joe Fennelly expressed the view that a u-turn should be possible particularly since AIB was part owned by the taxpayer.

“AIB belongs to the people and we can’t stand back and allow this happen.”

Port and Abbeyleix AIB customers are being relocated to the Portlaoise branch at Lyster Square with all account records being transferred.

AIB said it is ‘changing their business in response to customer needs’ and insist disruption and incovenience will be minimal. Affected staff will be redeployed as part of the restructuring.