SIPTU has condemned proposals by the Bank of Ireland to restrict cash transactions in branches saying that they amount to an attack on the elderly who are one of the most vulnerable sections of society. National Secretary of the SIPTU Retired Members Section, Paddy Moran, said: “With its proposals on restricting cash transactions, Bank of Ireland is attempting to force customers who are dealing in amounts of less than €700 to only use automated or internet based banking systems. “This amounts to an attack on older people, many of whom find ATMs and computerised interaction extremely difficult, if not impossible, and do not own home computers.” He added: “I have been inundated today with calls from retired SIPTU members angered and dismayed by this move. Not only will it make banking much more difficult for older people but it also magnifies security risks for them. “Older people are often anxious about handling cash at ATMs due to the fear of robbery. The imposition of these restrictions will also result in older people holding larger cash sums at home which, of course, increases the risk of being targeted by criminals.” He added: “That Bank of Ireland would move towards such a system has outraged some of its longest standing customers. One man who contacted me today has been a customer with the bank for more than 60 years. Like many elderly people, he would find it very difficult to change banks but will do so if these proposals are forced through.” He said that Bank of Ireland, a company which recorded pre-tax profits of over €920 million last year, must scrap these plans in their entirety immediately or be exposed as an organisation which has no regard for the elderly.