Customers’ fury over bank closure

Granard Ulster Bank customer Margaret McGahern chats to Longford Leader reporter Aisling Kiernan. Photo: Michelle Ghee.
The closure of the Ulster Bank in Granard has been met with dismay by customers of the financial institution.

The closure of the Ulster Bank in Granard has been met with dismay by customers of the financial institution.

Last week after a local deputation met with bank officials in an effort to convince the bank to reverse its decision, customers of the bank spoke to the Leader about the impact the closure would have on their lives and on the local business community.

Margaret McGahern has been banking with Ulster Bank in Granard for years. She said that the fabric of rural Ireland was being destroyed by the removal of services from local towns.

“I think he Government is trying to wreck the fabric of rural Ireland,” she said,

“Now this bank is closing I will have to go to Longford to do my banking”.

“I know there are a lot of people doing online banking now and even if you try to ring your local branch now you get through to call centre, but that said, there will always be people like me who need to go into the bank to do your business. The Government is not interested in providing services to the people any more.”

Meanwhile, another customer at Granard Ulster Bank - Gabriel Glynn from Coole said the closure in Granard was “unacceptable”.

“They closed the bank in Castlepollard and sent us to Granard and now here they are closing Granard,” Mr Glynn fumed. “It’s a disgrace what is going on; I have had to drive from Castlepollard to Granard to do my banking and when this bank closes, I will have to drive to Mullingar. I will have a half a day wasted by the time I get back to my business.”

The Ulster Bank in Granard was established in the north Longford town in the late 1800s and has been serving generations of locals for the last 146 years.

Ollie Kiernan from nearby Muckerstaff has been banking in the local bank all his life.

“This is a disaster,” he said, adding “this is an awful loss to the town of Granard”.

“Sure there are cuts to everything these days, but the closure of this bank really is going to be a big loss to Granard. I will probably have to move to Edgeworthstown now and that is definitely an inconvenience for me.”

Maeve Kane from Castlepollard became a customer in Granard when her local Ulster Bank was closed. She too pointed to the inconvenience of having to travel to Mullingar when the branch in Granard is removed next October.

“This bank in Granard should not be closing,” she stated. “There are people like me who are not computer savy and we need to go into the bank to do our business. It is not good enough.”

Regional Manager of Ulster Bank, Colm Furlong, confirmed last week that the Ulster Bank in Granard would close its doors for the last time at the end of October this year.