Blaine Gaffney, a Fine Gael ‘Area Representative’ in Sligo, has told Sligo Today
that “there is now clear and unequivocal evidence for the need to establish a dedicated ATM banking service on the Castle Street - Pearse Road side of Sligo town. He was speaking after conducting a petition on the issue over the last week, in order to gauge the interest from the Sligo public on the subject, which to date has seen 500 people sign and support the petition.
Gaffney originally posted his frustrations about the issue on his Facebook page which generated a great deal of attention and reaction online. He said “there has been a lot of interest from the public over the past week on the issue. I was initially blown away by the reaction it received and the amount of people who stated that they had the same feelings about the lack of dedicated ATM services on that side of our town and at different times of the week.
“It is clear that this is a problem for a lot of people!
“Following the reaction to the Facebook post, Ocean FM
asked me to discuss the issue on air the next morning and from this debate, more people began to contact me to express their support on the issue. This is why I decided to put together the petition, in order to get something factual together and in writing, in order to be able to present it to management at our local banks to see if anything can be done. “From the level of support the petition has received to date, it is very clear to see, that the Castle Street - High Street - Pearse Road side of Sligo town is a real problem area for accessing cash and I believe that this now needs to be addressed.
“Basically, it is a risk to go to this side of town if you need to access cash, as the current cash dispenser options in this area, are either often 'Out of Order', 'Out of Service' or are not accessible when the shops that they are located in close to the public. When this happens, people have to walk to Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank or Bank of Ireland on the other side of town just to get their money out. I have been advised this gets very repetitive, especially when people who work on this side of town often only have one hour for their lunch breaks. “From my memory at least, I believe that up to three dedicated ATM’s operated by Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have been removed from this area over the last number of years, which have unfortunately not been replaced.
“A report from the UK on the ‘Value of Cash’
to shops in our towns has found that local ATMs inject on average around 38% of withdrawn money directly into the tills of shops in the direct vicinity of it. The importance of an ATM for local commerce is further underlined by the fact that in the report around 44% of users of an ATM on a particular street have indicated that they would abandon the area in question if they weren’t able to withdraw money and shop at the same time. This is food for thought considering the amount of empty retail units currently on this side of Sligo town.
“Judging by the reaction received, it is clear that there is a need for a dedicated ATM service on this side of Sligo town and I firmly believe that a town with Sligo's population should be served better by our local banks in this regard. On this basis, I would now call on our local banks to conduct their own research on the matter and make efforts to resolve this issue,” concluded Gaffney.