Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says AIB’s decision to go ‘cashless’ suits shareholders, not the public

Pringle says AIB’s decision to go ‘cashless’ suits shareholders, not the public

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said AIB’s recent decision to go “cashless” in branches in Donegal and across the country is another action that prioritises shareholders over the public.

Deputy Pringle said: “AIB clearly don’t care about the public who use it. What are local businesses in the area supposed to do?”

AIB announced this week that 70 branches across the country, including six branches in Donegal – Ballybofey, Ballyshannon, Buncrana, Carndonagh, Dungloe and Killybegs – will go cashless by the end of the year. Just two Donegal branches, in Letterkenny and Donegal town, will continue to provide a full cash service.

Deputy Pringle said: “AIB announced a full year profit after tax of €645 million in 2021 – it’s not a loss-making business. They’re doing this in order to make more profit for their shareholders. It’s all about the never-ending pursuit of profits rather than providing a service to the public.

“They say it’s not feasible to continue these services. What they mean is that they can’t keep making endless profits.

“Another aspect of that is that ‘Ireland Inc.’ is still a very big shareholder in AIB, so why couldn’t the Government call a halt to this? We’re still the majority shareholder,” he said. The deputy said he will write to the Minister for Finance as a shareholder to ask him to block the move.

Deputy Pringle noted that cash services will still be available through An Post.

Deputy Pringle said: “I think An Post and our credit unions should be providing more services because they look out for people.”

The deputy has addressed the Dáil a number of times on the need for Government to expand the remit and autonomy of credit unions, calling them, “the lifeline of many communities”.