A rural Midlands community has fought back after losing its bank branch and ATM.
Residents of Castlepollard in Co Westmeath have taken matters into their own hands after the Bank of Ireland closed its branch in the village.
They persuaded an ATM operator to supply a replacement ATM for the one that was removed when the bank branch closed.
The community was also instrumental in local businessman David Murphy of Topline Hardware’s move to buy the old bank branch and transform it into a community digital hub. This allows people to work remotely.
The village lost a branch of Ulster Bank a few years ago.
Castlepollard Local Development Group’s Noel Kinahan and Mr Murphy said the area was in dire need of a replacement ATM.
There is one in a Tesco branch in Castlepollard but the men said it was often empty.
The villagers have persuaded Euronet to build a new ATM on the site where the old Bank of Ireland used to be. It is expected to be operational in days.
Castlepollard, home to 80 Ukrainian refugees, feels let down by banks and the government, Mr Kinahan said.
He said the community was in uproar at the Department for Social Protection’s move to close its office in the village and move to a small room in the library, which only operates two days a week.
A letter to Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys proposing that the welfare office move to the new community center in the old bank branch went unanswered, Mr Kinahan said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/westmeath-community-that-feels-abandoned-by-government-transforms-building-of-departed-bank-into-digital-hub-41983792.html The community of Westmeath, feeling abandoned by the government, is transforming a former bank building into a digital hub