AIB has decided NOT to proceed with plans to turn 70 branches into cashless outlets.

In a statement, the bank says it recognises 'the customer and public unease that this has caused'.

It says it will retain its 170-branch network in its entirety.

Among the banks that were due to change by September 30th included Castlerea in Roscommon and Tubbercurry in Sligo.

The banks that were scheduled to change by October 21st included Ballinrobe and Claremorris in Mayo and Athenry, Ballinasloe, Clifden, Gort, Oranmore, Salthill, Spiddal and The Lab in Galway.

Mayo Deputy Dara Calleary told Midwest News that while the quick reversal is welcome, it shows AIB has a lack of understanding about what is needed in rural Ireland.