Lochside Garage

End of an era as last bank finally closes

Belleek bank

Bank of Ireland, Belleek RMG08

The closure of the Bank of Ireland branch in Belleek last Friday marked the end of an era in the border village.
Despite a well-publicised campaign to save Belleek’s last remaining bank, the message fell on deaf ears as the branch shut its doors for the last time.
Bank of Ireland’s decision to proceed with their plan came despite 7,500 people signing a petition opposing the move and a week of daily protests supported by local MLAs and councillors from both Fermanagh and Donegal.
Hundreds of customers on both sides of the border with accounts in Belleek now face a 50 mile return trip to Enniskillen to visit their nearest branch. Bank of Ireland have confirmed that the existing ATM in Belleek will remain open and an External Lodgement ATM has been installed in their Enniskillen branch which will be available 24 hours.
Ulster Unionist MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tom Elliott told the Herald he was deeply disappointed with the decision to close the Bank of Ireland in Belleek.
“The last remaining bank in Belleek was a major part of the local community with many people from the area carrying out their banking business there. Now without a local face to face banking service, customers will have to travel to Enniskillen for those services. This leaves these customers with very few options.”
In their earlier decision, the Bank cited a number of reasons, including the growth of online banking. However, Mr Elliott says online banking is only good to those who have the ability to access internet facilities, and pointed out that “many areas of Erne North have notoriously bad broadband coverage”.
He added: “Moreover, local businesses and enterprises in the Belleek and North Fermanagh area relied on the local banking facilities, and this decision could potentially harm the local economy, with possibly fewer people going into Belleek village on a regular basis.”

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