DUBLIN: The Bank of Ireland is removing the country’s official first language from its ATMs and its Gaelic-speaking customers are none too happy about it. According to a report at Irish Central, the change is being made as the bank updates its dispense-only cash machines with ATMs that also take deposits. The new machines will be programmed for English only; older units offer both the option to complete transactions in either Gaelic or English. “When we analyze our ATMs which provide an Irish option, we find that fewer than 1 percent of ATM transactions on those devices are completed in Irish,” a spokesman for the bank said in the report “Given this continuing pattern of low and falling demand … it is not viable to continue to provide an Irish language option on the newer [ATMs].”
The bank will continue to offer checkbooks in Gaelic, as well as deposit and withdrawal slips, the report said. Irish politician Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has launched an online petition aimed at maintaining the Gaelic option at the nation’s ATMs. He cited census figures saying that 190,276 Irish speak their native language every week. “Initiatives like being able to take out cashas Gaeilgeare a novel way of inserting the Irish language into your daily life,” he said.