Bailed-out AIB to shut 67 branches
Bailed-out Allied Irish Banks (AIB) is to close 67 branches across the country.
The bank confirmed that 51 locations will shut up shop by the end of the year, with the remaining 16 closing in 2013.
An AIB spokeswoman said nearly 350 employees will be affected by the closures, but insisted there will be no compulsory redundancies.
"Staff are going to be redeployed as part of the restructuring," said the spokeswoman. "We have around 346 people working in the affected branches. Not all of them are full-time members of staff."
A further five branches at AIB's subsidiary First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland have also been earmarked for closure.
Finance union the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) described the announcement as "traumatic" for the workforce.
General secretary Larry Broderick said the closures reflect a piecemeal dismantling of Ireland's banking infrastructure, adding: "It will also come as a major shock to customers in these areas - who have come to rely on the service from their local branch."
Among the 67 affected branches are six amalgamations and the closure of 45 sub offices, which the bank describes as smaller branches.
Those will close this year, with the first shutting its doors on October 12, the bank confirmed. The remaining 16 outlets will close in 2013.
AIB chief executive David Duffy said the closures were necessary to allow AIB to continue providing credit to the economy at sustainable levels. He insisted there would be little inconvenience to customers due to a recent deal struck with An Post, which has agreed to extend banking facilities.