Belleek warned bank closure could do “untold damage”

Some of the people protesting in Belleek this week at the proposed closure of the Bank of Ireland branch

Some of the people protesting in Belleek last week at the proposed closure of the Bank of Ireland branch

AS people in Belleek continue to protest against the proposed closure of the only bank in the town, a councillor in a town in Donegal which has seen its banks close has warned of the economic and social effects the closure could have on the local community.
The people of Moville, in north Donegal, have recently had two banks closed down, while their third bank is running reduced services. Local Sinn Fein councillor Jack Murray knows the direct effect the closure of the bank can have on a small town and urges those in Belleek to keep fighting the decision.
“The people of Belleek should continue to fight the decision to have their bank closed. I know the Bank of Ireland may have already made up their minds but the local community should do all they can to keep services in the rural area. Two of the banks in Moville closed and the third is running reduced services. It has made a massive difference to the whole town. The bank brought people to the town and while they were there they visited the shops, went for coffee and did other business, now they have to go to another town to do all of their errands.”
“It is an inconvenience for those who can drive, but for the elderly and those who cannot drive, it is a massive obstacle. People are left trying to sort out lifts to the nearest town because of the lack of public transport in rural areas,” said Jack Murray. 
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Belleek to show their anger at the decision to close the Belleek Bank of Ireland, with 7,000 people signing a petition to keep the bank open. One of the main campaigners, Bridie Gormley is hopeful that the bank will overturn their decision.
“The protests went beyond our expectations, people travelled just to sign the petition and voice their concerns about the closure of the bank. People are not prepared to make the 50 mile round trip to a town to do their banking. We are in a unique position due to proximity to the border and the poor broadband we receive, we are hoping that the bank will overturn their decision.”
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald, First Minister Arlene Foster said, “I felt it was important that I should publicly show my support for this campaign. I will continue to back the calls to save this vital asset and I pledge to support the local community in Belleek with their efforts to retain this service.”

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