Ballyhaunis town centre. Photo: Google Maps

Mayo town 'leading recovery challenge after collapse of banking system'

Ballyhaunis is leading the way in driving the recovery after the challenging time rural areas have had following the collapse of the Irish banking system.

The point has been made to Taoiseach Micheál Martin by Mayo TD Rose Conway-Walsh.

She stated: "The excellent work done by the Ballyhaunis Chamber of Commerce, Ballyhaunis Community Council and other voluntary groups and individuals in the town is widely acknowledged.

"This work makes Ballyhaunis an attractive town to live and work in and these organisations and individuals are to the forefront of inclusiveness in rural development.

"For months, the threatened closure of the Bank of Ireland branch in Ballyhaunis has cast a shadow over this town and surrounding area.

"For a financial institution to be allowed to turn its back and withdraw these vital services runs contrary to the programme for government aim of revitalising small towns.

"If he has not done so, can the Taoiseach and his Minister for Finance meet the banking executives and ask them to reconsider their decision to close this branch and to engage with the chamber of commerce and community council in the town in this regard?"

In response, An Taoiseach stated: "Bank of Ireland is a private institution and it makes its own decisions.

"The government has decided to focus its work through An Post and through other initiatives such as the remote working hubs and enterprise centres, plus the Housing for All and Town Centre First strategies.

"We are using our mechanisms on a number of fronts to revitalise towns and to get investment back into towns.

"When we have met the banks, we have repeatedly stressed the need for them to retain and maintain their regional and rural footprints as well as the importance of that to the commercial viability of towns.

"Where the government itself has control of the levers, it is anxious to put investment into towns such as Ballyhaunis."