IFA president Tim Cullinan has said that access to financial services is crucial for the economic vitality of rural Ireland.

Speaking following a meeting with Bank of Ireland on Thursday, Cullinan said the IFA made it clear that the decision by the bank to close 103 branches has been very badly received in rural Ireland.

“We previously described it as a ‘slap in the face’ and that is how people in rural Ireland see it,” he said.

He added that in light of the recent withdrawal of Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland’s decision to close branches, it is clear that rural Ireland is now more dependent than ever on the post office network.


IFA farm business chair Rose Mary McDonagh said: "Farming and rural communities are disproportionately impacted by these closures, since over 80% of branches are located in rural Ireland.

“Furthermore, the exit of Ulster Bank further erodes the diminishing level of competition in the sector,” she said.

Bank of Ireland confirmed to the IFA that it is in talks with An Post to develop a partnership, whereby withdrawal and lodgement services will be available to Bank of Ireland customers in their local post office.

McDonagh called on the Government to make the necessary investments in establishing fully-serviced community banking.