Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A letter to the Bank of Ireland

In a sinister development this week, the Bank of Ireland shut down the bank account of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

In the same week, it was confirmed that three hotels in the Shannon area have suddenly cancelled rooms which were booked for a peace conference this Saturday.

Activists who have opposed the use of Shannon by the US military in the "war on terror" have been told all sorts of stories and given all sorts of excuses about "double bookings".

Freedom of speech is alive and well in Ireland, it seems.

So it's time to write to the Bank of Ireland ...

West Bank villagers expressing solidarity with peace
activists at Shannon Airport in 2014

Dear Bank of Ireland,

I wish to express my shock and dismay at your decision to shut down the bank account of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as confirmed on national radio on Sunday.

As I'm now in my late 40s, I estimate that I have had my current account with you for approximately 32 years, since I took advantage of some promotional offer as a first year in University.

This decision, which I cannot understand, has forced me to consider switching my current account to another bank.

As a journalist and human rights activist, I have never seen any member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign express support for violence or any "terrorist" organisation since its foundation back in 2001.

The group widely condemns racism, including anti-Semitism, and bans anyone who uses racist language from their Facebook page.

I have met all of the main activists in the organisation and I have never heard or seen any of them express support for extremists or terrorists, including Hamas.

The IPSC has huge support, because like the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement in the 1980s, they exist solely to raise awareness of one of the gross injustices of our lifetimes, namely the occupation and colonisation of Palestine.

Day by day, they chronicle how awful life is for ordinary Palestinians under the occupation, and I have purchsed items like Palestinian football jerseys, traditional scarves and calenders from them, ironically using my Bank of Ireland credit card.

Does this mean I now have a "dodgy" or "risky" account?

I would never, ever have purchased items from the IPSC if I had even the slightest concern that they were involved with or connected to "dodgy" organisations.

So I am both shocked and appalled by the Bank of Ireland's decision and I am seriously considering switching my current account and credit card to a rival bank.

This was a shocking and unprecedented move on your part and it's a dangerous abuse of power.

Ciaran Tierney,


(If you feel strongly about this startling move on the part of Bank of Ireland, you can email them at

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