Bank of Ireland ends the travelling bank service in the west of Ireland much to annoyance of customers in Connemara.

For three decades the travelling bank has serviced rural Connemara and Mayo but Bank of Ireland says it is no longer viable as fewer people use it, the vehicles need upgrading and there are health and safety issues.

The bank plan to end the service on 16 April 2004, saying there are alternatives to the travelling bank such as network of Automatic Teller Machines and internet banking. 

In the village of Ros Muc in the Conamara Gaeltacht of County Galway, locals are angry at the decision to withdraw the travelling bank service. Their nearest bank is over 20 miles away, Máire Ní Chongaile feels the Bank of Ireland is leaving them high and dry.

Gabrielle O’Malley points out that certain services cannot be done online and need to be carried out in a bank.

There wouldn't be banks if we didn't need them, and if they're necessary in towns, then they are necessary out here too.

Every Tuesday the travelling bank parks outside Críostoir Breathnach’s pub in Ros Muc. He is annoyed that customers were given such short notice about the end of the service, and does not think people have been fully informed on how to access other banking services.

It's like pulling the rug from under a lot of people, not only businesses, for a service that we were relying on for over 30 years.

With the demise of the travelling bank service grows concern for the safety of people who cannot get to a bank. Connemara has a large population of older people who have been advised by An Garda Síochána not to keep money in their homes and they depend on the travelling bank.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 6 April 2004. The reporter is Eileen Magnier.