Bank of Ireland branch closures are a further hammer blow to urban commercial and retail centres, says SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin.
She was responding to the news that the Bank’s Strand Road branch in Derry is to close.
More than half of the Bank of Ireland’s branches will cease operations.
McLaughlin called on the Bank to clarify its future arrangements for servicing its loyal customer base and supporting its workforce. She has been engaged over recent months in an extensive engagement exercise to ensure that Bank of Ireland re-commits to banking in the North.
She said: “This is a hammer blow to Derry, just as it is for urban centres across the North. In recent years we have had a migration of business away from the city and town centres across to the internet, followed by the collapse of trade in traditional retail centres as a result of the Covid pandemic. This decision from the Bank of Ireland adds to this spiral of decline.
“It is essential that the Executive accelerates its plans for the regeneration of traditional retail centres. It is deeply frustrating that the Executive Office’s High Streets Task Force that was announced on the 6th August last year, only met for the first time on 24th February this year. The Executive Office must treat the decline of our traditional retail areas with much greater urgency.”