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Council to protest at closure of last AIlied Irish Bank in Co Armagh

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Allied Irish Bank plans to shut its last remaining Co Armagh branch in Lurgan in November. Credit: Gareth Chaney

Allied Irish Bank plans to shut its last remaining Co Armagh branch in Lurgan in November. Credit: Gareth Chaney

Allied Irish Bank plans to shut its last remaining Co Armagh branch in Lurgan in November. Credit: Gareth Chaney

A council is to write to Allied Irish Bank (AIB) to protest over the “scandalous” decision to close its last branch in Co Armagh this November.

Last month, AIB, formerly known as First Trust, announced plans to close eight branches, including one in Lurgan, in November. The others set for closure are Bangor, Coleraine, Glengormley, Kilkeel, Lisburn, Newcastle and Omagh.

AIB said the closure was a result of the change in the way consumers interact with their banks, with digital payments rising 53% since the end of 2017.

Councillor Jim Speers questioned the decision at a recent Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council meeting. He claimed that in closing this branch AIB was “abandoning the community”

“If the proposals from AIB go through, Co Armagh will not have a First Trust bank,” he said. “I say to the banks, if you are going to close one bank in Lurgan/Portadown or Armagh, why not close them all?”

Councillor Speers also warned that if the move goes through he doubts it will be the last bank closure.

“If this proposal goes ahead and I was a First Trust customer looking to lodge money I would have to drive to Dungannon or I would have to drive to Newry or somewhere else, I can’t do it in Co Armagh.

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“They have closed in Armagh, closed in Portadown and now the proposal is to close Lurgan — it is scandalous. To think of this county not having one First Trust bank, when is the day going to come that there is no Danske Bank in Co Armagh or no Bank of Ireland in Co Armagh?

“We need to be asking ourselves major questions and we need to be asking the banks major questions in terms of regeneration within rural areas and I would suggest that, through the Chief Executive, we ask the banks what is going on.

“I think they have a duty to explain to the community they allegedly support and represent as to how they hope to engage with the community in terms of providing a facility.”


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