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Bank of Ireland have announced that their Crossmaglen Branch will close in November. It comes after an announcement in March by the bank that they were closing 15 branches in the north. It leaves Crossmaglen without a bank facility following the closure of the Danske Bank branch back in 2012.

Slieve Gullion Councillor, Cllr Pete Byrne who had called on the bank to reconsider its decision  said "I'm disappointed to receive confirmation that our Crossmaglen branch of the Bank of Ireland will close on 18th November 2021.

"I have consistently called on those who have made this decision to ensure full banking services are available through the new post office model. Customers will be able to bank cash/cheques, withdraw cash and check their balance at the post office counter in Centra.

"I have written back to the Bank of Ireland Managing Director to get clarity on other services that will be lost, especially to business customers, and will update you with a response on reply.

"If anyone has any questions or issues they need help with regarding these changes, please just send me a message and I'll help steer you in the right direction."

Conor Murphy, MLA and his party colleague, Councillor Aoife Finnegan, also voiced their disappointment and concern at the decision to permanently close the Branch in Crossmaglen.

Murphy said “I am extremely disappointed that the Bank has decided to press ahead with the decision to close branches during the pandemic. Sinn Féin have repeatedly urged banks to wait until the pandemic is over before making these decisions.

"The banks have cited an increased move by customers to online banking as one of the motivations for this decision. However, it must be remembered that there is still a considerable number of people who are unable to access these services. Particularly in rural areas.

"It is important that rural communities are taken into account when these decisions are being made to prevent them from becoming further isolated from their essential services.”

Slieve Gullion Councillor, Cllr Aoife Finnegan echoed her colleagues view adding “This decision is a huge blow for our rural community. The banks have said that Post Office’s will be able to fill the gap in the services provided to the affected communities. However, in some areas there is no Post Office at all and the communities which have an uncertain future with the Post office being relegated to a counter in a shop corner.

"People will still be able to lodge cash and cheques and use other banking services at the Post Office here in Crossmaglen but it is vital that if bank branches are to close in rural areas that the Post Offices will be protected to ensure that more services do not disappear from our already isolated rural communities.” 

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