Clare TD Joe Carey has called on Bank of Ireland to reverse its controversial plans to shut three local branches.

The bank today confirmed it will close its branches in Kilkee, Tulla and Miltown Malbay from the end of September. The move is part of a massive restructure of Bank of Ireland’s operations in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Local Fine Gael TD Joe Carey condemned the move, saying it is “the wrong move at the wrong time” for the bank’s rural customers.

Deputy Carey said: “This decision to close the Bank of Ireland branches in Tulla, Miltown Malbay and Tulla is a massive blow for customers in these towns.

“Older people in particular will be very negatively impacted by the decision, and they face the ordeal of having to travel far greater distances in order to avail of banking services. Many older people are simply unable to make the transition to online banking and this will leave them feeling further isolated as the country struggles under the shadow of Covid-19.”

The Clarecastle-based TD pointed out that local businesses in these areas will also be at a disadvantage as they will have to travel longer distances to make lodgements and avail of other services that cannot be done online.

Deputy Carey added: “Whichever way you look at it, this is another significant loss of facilities for people living in our rural towns and villages.

“This announcement comes at a time when many people are suffering as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions that are needed to stem the spread of the virus. This is a kick in the stomach for the bank’s loyal customers in Tulla, Miltown Malbay and Kilkee who have been left high and dry without these vital services.”