Rural TDs Challenge Government’s Push for Cashless Society and Call for Action to Safeguard Access to Cash – – Our News, Your Views

Rural TDs Challenge Government’s Push for Cashless Society and Call for Action to Safeguard Access to Cash

Speaking from his Tipperary constituency, ahead of the Rural Independent Group’s Dáil debate on Wednesday to protect access to cash, the group’s leader, Deputy Mattie McGrath, stated:

“Our motion aims to push back against the trend towards a cashless society, which is being actively encouraged by the government. We strongly believe that such a move would lead to increased government control and surveillance over people’s lives, which is not acceptable. Therefore, we are taking a bold stance and challenging the notion that cash should be phased out entirely, arguing instead that it should continue to be a viable means of payment for all members of society.”

“In recent years, Irish banks have been closing down branches all over the country, leaving rural communities without access to essential financial services. Despite being the majority shareholder during these times in Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland, each Minister for Finance and government remained complicit by their silence. This trend must be reversed, and action must be taken to protect cash as a means to buy goods and services.”

“While digital payment methods have seen a boom, cash still holds many advantages. Paying with cash is a better way for many consumers to control their spending, as it helps them plan their savings and avoid unnecessary expenses. Carrying cash also provides autonomy, as digital payment receivers sometimes suffer technical glitches. By carrying cash, we avoid the chance that credit and debit card payments may not be available.”

“Moreover, notes and coins are crucial to prevent the exclusion of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, low-income households, or rural residents, who may have less access to digital payment means. Cash ensures inclusion and prevents these groups from being left behind in an increasingly cashless world.”

“In light of recent developments in the banking sector, such as the closure of bank branches and the move towards digital payment methods, there is a growing concern that access to cash is becoming increasingly limited. This issue could have a significant impact on the daily lives of many people, particularly those in rural areas, for whom cash is a vital means of payment for goods and services.”

“As representatives of rural communities, we urge the government to recognize the importance of cash as a means of payment and take appropriate measures, including legislative protections, to ensure that all members of society can continue to access and use cash, regardless of their location or their ability or willingness to use digital payment methods.”

“We call on the government to work with financial institutions and payment service providers to maintain the provision of cash services and ensure that the costs of providing these services are not passed on to consumers or small businesses. To achieve these objectives, we demand that the government develops Access to Cash legislation in line with the recommendations of the Retail Banking Review Report 2022 and implements this legislation before the summer recess.”

“We also seek the introduction of more robust protections against cybercrime and fraud, as well as effective dispute resolution mechanisms, to ensure that consumers and small businesses can continue to use cash safely and securely.”

“Our Dail motion demands that the government stops listening to financial institutions on this issue and takes action by recognizing the fundamental responsibility of the Central Bank of Ireland and the banking sector to ensure the smooth supply of cash and access to cash for consumers and SMEs continues in Ireland. It is essential that the government takes immediate action to protect access to cash for all citizens and promote financial inclusion and access to basic financial services for all members of society,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.

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