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Protest held outside Newry Bank of Ireland over withdrawal of Irish option on ATMs

Protest was held on Friday in Newry

Group calls for bank to increase services in Irish

Fóram an Dúin agus Oirialla say they were delighted with the turn-out at a protest outside the Newry branch of Bank of Ireland on Friday.

The rally was held after the bank decided it would no longer provide an Irish-language option on new lodgement and withdrawal ATMs. This protest coincided with an island-wide protest about this issue.

Conradh na Gaeilge has requested an urgent meeting with Bank of Ireland to discuss the absence of an Irish-language option on their new lodgement and withdrawal ATMs (LATMs) as well as suggestions as to how the bank could further promote the language.

The community organisation is also calling on its branches and members to talk to their local Bank of Ireland branch to highlight the issue, and to ask the local branch manager to raise the question of the Irish-language option with the bank’s national decision-makers as a matter of urgency.

Áinín Uí Chaiside, Secretary of Fóram an Dúin agus Oirialla says: “Bank of Ireland created a distinct space for themselves in the market by virtue of being the only bank to provide an Irish-language option on such a wide range of ATMs throughout the country, Gaeltacht areas included.

“Conradh na Gaeilge firmly believes that it would be hugely short-sighted and regressive of Bank of Ireland to no longer provide the public with an Irish-language option on its new LATMs.

“At a time when private businesses such as Google, Microsoft, Energia and Tayto are increasing the number of services they provide for their customers in Irish, and as thousands of potential future customers start in Irish-medium schools this September, it makes no business sense for Bank of Ireland to discard the good will and brand awareness that they have built up with the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community over the years.”

According to a survey by Millward Brown in 2015, 37% of the public here agree that the Irish language is a unique selling point for businesses.

Sara Ní Chuiréain, Irish language development officer with Conradh na Gaeilge Boirche Íochtar says: “Many people opened an account with Bank of Ireland because of the Irish-language option they provided to their customers, myself and many others from the fóram included.

“Irish speakers may not form the majority of Bank of Ireland’s clientele, but the Irish-language option on their ATMs showed that the bank valued their custom and appreciated the innate importance of our national language.

“We are urging all customers to voice their concerns at their local branch and file official requests that the Irish-language option is retained on new LATMs.”

Fóram an Dúin & Oirialla is calling on Bank of Ireland to increase the number of services in Irish that they provide, to retain the Irish-language option on their new lodgement and withdrawal ATMs, and to continue to serve the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community as well as they do.

Bank of Ireland customers can urge the bank to retain its Irish-language option on new LATMs by speaking to a member of staff in any branch, by calling them on the phone, or by writing to them; see www.bankofireland.com/help-centre/customer-complaints-process/.

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