A meeting with the Regional Manager of Ulster Bank and local representatives is expected to take place in Granard in the coming days, writes Aisling Kiernan
The meeting, which will be attended by Deputy Robert Troy (FF), Deputy James Bannon (FG), Cllr PJ Reilly (FF), Cllr Micheál Carrigy (FG), Canice Dunphy, Super Valu, Granard and other business leaders in the town, as well as Colm Furlong, regional manager with the bank, developed as a result of a public meeting held last Thursday to re-establish a Traders’ Association in the town.
The news that Ulster Bank was to close its Granard branch by the end of November broke two weeks ago, and efforts are now being made by the community in north Longford to reverse the decision, a decision local representatives say will “devastate” business in the town.
“We are meeting on Friday with the regional manager of Ulster Bank,” Mr Dunphy told the Leader.
“A number of people expressed interest in re-establishing the traders association and we will set up the committee this week and appoint representatives to meet with Mr Furlong.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Carrigy said that it was his hope that the concerns and issues expressed by the people of Granard would be brought to the meeting on Friday, and that every effort would be made by Ulster Bank officials to “take those concerns on board”. “We will put forward the concerns and indicate to him the negative impact the closure of the bank will have on the town,” added Cllr Carrigy.
“We also want to know what the plan is for existing customers of the bank as there are plans to send customers to the Longford branch.”
Cllr PJ Reilly (FF) said that questions also needed to be answered in relation to the Ulster Bank branch in Edgeworthstown, which he said, “is definitely under threat”. “These are very uncertain times for Ulster Bank,” he added.
“This meeting on Friday is very important because it will be an opportunity to put our concerns over the decision to close the Granard branch on the table. There are people as far as Castlepollard who will be seriously inconvenienced, as well as people in Mullahoran, Gowna and across the wider area. We also want to know the truth about the Edgeworthstown branch; there is a threat to it and we know there is, so we will be looking for some answers on Friday.”
On Tuesday, July 1, Ulster Bank announced it was closing a number of branches countrywide including the branch in Granard, which has served the people of the area since 1869.
For the last 145 years, the iconic building at the top of Market Street in Granard town has been home to a bank that has seen generations of local people walk through its doors.