Hopes of a reprieve for the Ulster Bank in Granard were dashed yesterday when it was confirmed the bank will close at the end of October.
The announcement was made by the bank’s Regional Manager, Colm Furlong during a meeting with local business people, TDs and councillors at the bank yesterday (Tuesday).
Mr Furlong also stated that the bank’s branch in Edgeworthstown was safe, and there were no plans to close it following local reports in recent weeks that it too would cease operations.
There was disappointment expressed by those who attended the meeting, with many pointing to the difficulties now faced by business people in the town of Granard as a direct result of the closure.
“It was a long meeting and I am hugely disappointed with the management of Ulster Bank, who have taken the decision to move out of this town,” Deputy James Bannon (FG) told the Leader.
“We expressed our annoyance on behalf of the business people and indeed the elderly citizens, as well as the many people in the surrounding parishes who have supported this bank over the years.”
Ulster Bank first set up in Granard in the late 1800s.
“Three or four generations of people have supported this bank and everyone feels very let down by the decision to close it,” said Deputy Bannon.
While the news from the meeting was far from positive, it did emerge that the bank would liaise with the business community in Granard in an effort to ease the difficulties, and it also committed to ensuring that a second ATM would be installed in the town.
“We are devastated by this decision,” said Paschal Masterson of the Granard Traders Association,
“We thought the bank would have a change of heart.
“Of course this is going to affect our business; if people are going in to do their banking in Longford, then they will do their business there.
“This bank has been here through thick and thin, through good times and bad - I just cannot understand why this is happening.”
Cllr PJ Reilly (FF) concluded that, “this is not a good day for Granard.”