Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has written to the Central Bank asking for clarity over the regulation of independently operated ATMs, after it was revealed that Bank of Ireland and AIB plan to sell off more than 1,000 cash machines across the State.
Deputy Doherty has also called on the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to clarify if he knew of AIB’s plans to sell off 375 of its ATMs, given the State is the majority shareholder.
Speaking today, the Donegal TD said:
“News that domestic banks are planning to sell off over 1,000 ATMs across the State is bad news for consumers and rural communities.
“These banks have closed branches in communities across the State and cut their withdrawal services. This move is another hit for consumers who are rarely a priority for our banking sector.
“The fact that Irish banks are in the process of selling off vast amounts of their ATM network is a clear indication that they have failed to invest properly in their infrastructure.
“There is now a serious concern that if these ATMs are bought over by independent operators, consumers could face charges of up to €3 when they withdraw cash.
“It is reported that rural communities are most likely to be affected by the sale of ATMs, leaving them particularly exposed to higher consumer charges on withdrawal.
“It is reported that AIB, in which the State owns the majority of shares, is planning to sell off up to 375 of its ATMs. I would ask the Minister for Finance to clarify what discussions he has had with AIB regarding this sale.
“It has also been reported that the independent operator Euronext, which already has a large presence across Europe, has bid up to €20m for parts of the Bank of Ireland.
“These sales could see consumers hit with higher fees every time they withdraw.
“This is an issue I raised with the Central Bank in the Finance Committee on 12 November 2019. I have written to the Governor of the Central Bank for clarity regarding the regulation of these independent operators.”