A protest was organised this afternoon against the removal of the Irish language option on Bank of Ireland ATMs.
The protest took place at the Bunbeg branch today at 1:30 pm.
Speaking to Donegal Daily, Independent Councillor Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig says it’s an “absolute disgrace that this option is being taken away.”
“The State is meant to promote the Irish language, and Bank of Ireland’s decision to remove this option is dismissive of Gaeltacht communities.
“This is typical of banks, who are solely concerned with profit. It’s most likely a cost-saving mechanism, but it shows total and utter disrespect to the Gaeltacht community.
“One time in the area we had three banks, but there’s nothing left now but the skeleton of a bank. The State is not investing properly in West Donegal as it is, a region hammered by immigration and unemployment.
“I would ask them to immediately reverse their decision. Show us some respect.”
The decision to remove the Irish language has also been slammed by Pearse Doherty TD, who says it is a “backward step” and “undermines the rights of Irish language speakers.”
He added that the removal of the option demonstrates “a serious lack of consideration regarding the Irish language and the language rights of speakers.”
Donegal Daily contacted Bank Of Ireland for comment and clarification regarding whether the decision to remove the Irish language option will affect ATMs in Gaeltacht regions.
In a statement to Donegal Daily, a spokesperson said that as fewer than 1% of ATM transactions on those devices are completed in Irish, it “hasn’t been viable” to provide an Irish language option on machines manufactured from 2010 onwards.
“We provide an Irish language option on all retail ATMs (i.e. ATMs co-located within retail units) and on some ATMs located within our branch network. We are the only bank to provide the Irish language option on these devices.
“As the largest lender to the Irish economy, and through our nationwide enterprise programme, our personal and business lending, and a diverse range of sponsorship activities, Bank of Ireland has a long tradition of supporting Irish culture, sport and enterprise nationally, and across all the local communities in which we operate.
“Bank of Ireland supports Irish-speaking customers by providing key services in the Irish language including the provision of chequebooks, and withdrawal and lodgement dockets in Irish. Our Youth Programme with primary and secondary schools also includes events and literature through Irish.”
When directly asked if ATMs in Gaeltacht regions would maintain the Irish language option, the spokesperson said: “ATMs in retail units will carry the Irish language option and will be upgraded on a like for like basis.”
This follows the Bank of Ireland’s decision to remove over-the-counter cash services from four of its Donegal branches at Bunbeg, Bundoran, Glenties and Moville, effective last month.
It’s also understood that over-the-counter cash services at eight other branches in the county were scaled back from a full service three times a week, to a part-time service Monday to Friday.Tags: