Farmers and rural businesses are still coming to terms with the impending closure of 22 Ulster Bank branches.

Two of the branches are in Raphoe and Ardara, Co Donegal, with the community there said to be outraged.

“Everybody received a letter from the Ulster Bank to tell them their accounts are being moved to Letterkenny, which is 10km away,” Anne Harkin, manager of Raphoe mart, told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“They are the last banks standing in the area. There were three, with AIB and Danske, but we are going to have none now from June in Raphoe and September in Ardara.”

A community group made up of farmers, business people and locals met with three officials from Ulster Bank last week with the hope of avoiding closure of the branches.

However, this was not the outcome: “They weren’t interested in any proposals that we put forward and they were repetitive in what they said – no,” said Harkin.

There are also plans to remove the ATM service after six months, with “no guarantee it would even be there that long”.

“The farming community, the elderly, business people in the community put their trust in the Ulster Bank. They mean nothing at all to the Ulster Bank.”

“The issue here is rural Ireland is of very little significance. Ireland doesn’t belong just to the cities.”

Along with branch closures come job losses, with 220 people losing their jobs in total.

As well as it being a vital service, the personal side is important too.

“What about the loyal staff of the Ulster Bank who know every single customer by name? There is a personal aspect of it. There’s nobody from rural areas going to come into towns anymore, because it seems they are not wanted,” Harkin said.

She added that she has been in contact with a large number customers of the Raphoe branch alone in the past two weeks.