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Ulster Bank to shut five branches in Northern Ireland

By Amanda Ferguson

Five branches of the Ulster Bank will be shut in Northern Ireland over the next four months, it has been revealed.

The bank's management has said premises at Lisburn Road, Lombard Street and Finaghy in Belfast, plus branches at Rathcoole in Newtownabbey and another in Hillsborough are to close.

Three sub-offices in the Republic will also shut before the end of 2014.

This comes after 11 branch closures in Northern Ireland last summer.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds described the branch closure at The Diamond as a "devastating blow" for Rathcoole.

"The loss of this essential service will be particularly felt by local residents who do not have access to their own transport, by senior citizens and by local businesses, churches and other organisations which make regular cash deposits," he said.

Finance union IBOA said the closures had been announced at a crucial stage in ongoing negotiations between the bank's senior management and the union on restructuring.

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