The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has expressed concern over Allied Irish Banks (AIB) being unable to issue replacement chequebooks to their customers due to a supply shortage.

ICSA beef chair John Cleary said he is deeply concerned about the implications this will have for farmers across the country.

“This situation is not only inconvenient, but poses a significant challenge for farmers across Ireland who heavily rely on cheques in their day-to-day business operations,” he said.

The ICSA said it understands that AIB is in the process of securing a new supplier for their chequebooks.

“Cheques play a crucial role in facilitating transactions within the farming sector, where cashflow management and timely payments are essential for the viability of farming operations.

“This is particularly the case for farm-to-farm transactions when buying livestock or feed and for paying agricultural contractors for silage and slurry jobs.

“The inability to obtain replacement chequebooks not only disrupts these essential transactions, but also hampers farmers' ability to conduct business efficiently,” Cleary said.

Online not a solution

The beef chair added that it is not a solution to ask farmers to use alternative online methods.

“Most farmers do not have debit or credit card machines on their farms and getting electronic payments set up online is cumbersome to say the least.

“Even people who are very familiar with computerised payments find them far from user-friendly. Then there is also the issue of broadband reliability in many rural parts to contend with,” he said.

Calling on AIB to speed up their efforts to resolve this issue, Cleary said AIB failed to inform its customers about the problem.

“Failing to inform customers so they could at least plan for the weeks ahead is unacceptable.

“Any ongoing delay will be viewed as yet another underhanded attempt at reducing traditional banking services in rural Ireland,” he said.

AIB comment

In response, a spokesperson from AIB told the Irish Farmers Journal that the delivery of AIB chequebooks to customers will recommence from Monday 12 February.

"For orders up to 1 February, customers should receive their books towards the end of that week, with normal service resuming.

"Some customers may have experienced a temporary delay in the issuance of their chequebooks after our previous chequebook supplier went into administration.

"We apologise to these customers for any inconvenience that was caused," the spokesperson said.

In the meantime, customers have been advised of alternative payment options available to them, for example, online channels which offer various payment options, AIB debit or credit cards.

Customers can also make payments in branch using their paylink euro products.

"Customers can contact our dedicated help line on 0818 303 034 for support with alternative methods of payment," they advised.