There are no plans to remove ATMs in the North East area or restrict access overnight due to ongoing concerns over raids being carried out across the region, with two of the county’s big banks confirming to LouthNow.ie those are not options currently being considered.
While Bank of Ireland did not confirm or deny such a move was in the pipeline, Ulster Bank and AIB say services will not be affected. Bank of Ireland say their safety of staff and customers are of “paramount importance” to the bank.
In the aftermath of the latest raid in Dunleer, Fianna Fáil’s Declan Breathnach said he feared the removal of services in towns and villages in the north east region and even suggested ATM services could be restricted to daytime hours.
“In the short term we may need to look at the possibility of reducing the operating hours of an ATM between midnight and the early morning,” the general election candidate said. “There is technology available which can turn off the ATM and automatically transfer it into a secure bunker.”
Bank of Ireland’s branch in Dunleer has been targeted twice in the space of two months, with the latest an attempted raid in the early hours of Wednesday morning this week. Members of An Garda Siochana’s Armed Response Unit interrupted the attempt but the culprits escaped via the M1, driving over the border. No arrests have yet been made.
In a statement released to LouthNow.ie on Wednesday, they said the damage was still being assessed.
“Bank of Ireland is engaging with An Garda Siochana in relation to the attempted theft of the ATM in Dunleer. The safety of our customers and colleagues is of paramount importance to the bank. A full assessment of damage to the branch was being conducted today and we will give a further update when it is available,” the statement read.
Ulster Bank’s premises on Irish Street in Ardee was the target of an attempted theft on Saturday December 21 – just days before Christmas, leaving many people in the area with fewer options to access cash ahead of the busy festive period. The raid also meant that the street was closed for much of the day as Gardai carried out investigations, a blow to business who missed a Saturday morning’s trade with three shopping days to go before Christmas.
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The ATM remains boarded up in Ardee 28 days after the incident. A spokesperson for Ulster Bank told LouthNow.ie, “We are working hard to restore our ATM service in Ardee and appreciate our customers’ patience while we assess and reverse the damage caused. Currently, we have no plans to remove or reduce services.”
Ulster Bank told LouthNow.ie they did not comment on security matters but said that there were restrictions in place regarding the timeline in bringing their Ardee ATM back online.
There was significant structural damage to the listed building on Irish Street and such is the building’s listed status planning restrictions mean that the bank can only complete the works in daylight hours. Ulster Bank are also only carrying out works to Saturdays to minimise further disruption to the branch customers. The branch is open Monday to Friday.
AIB confirmed to LouthNow.ie that they are not removing any ATMs nor have they considered it at any point.
“Any ATM robbery will impact most on the community that is being served, depriving it of an essential service,” a spokesperson for the bank told said.
“AIB along with the other Financial Institutions and with the support of the BPFI have been working closely with the Gardai and the PSNI to agree a consistent and effective strategy focusing on measures which will assist in both the detection and prevention of these attacks.
“We continue to monitor the security of our ATM estate and implement additional controls as deemed necessary, we cannot go into the detail of these controls for security reasons.”