Outrage as Ireland PSC bank accounts closed
Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, Oct 6 2016
A 2014 Dublin protest in solidarity with Gaza, Palestine. (Photo: Paul Reynolds, Rabble.ie)
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign announced on Monday that its accounts had been closed by the Bank of Ireland. The IPSC is seeking answers from the bank, which would only say the organization no longer met its “risk appetite.” In a statement the IPSC said the move appeared to be “part of a campaign orchestrated by the Israeli government.” The group also described the bank’s decision as “an attack on Palestinian rights and BDS.” According to TheJournal.ie, the bank has refused to comment about its decision. Kevin Squires, the IPSC’s coordinator, told TheJournal.ie:
The Bank of Ireland’s silence speaks volumes. Honestly it’s hard to not view this as part of a wider campaign which has seen banks close accounts in the UK, Austria and France.
Squires said the campaigning group had sent just $1,350 to Palestine in the last financial year, mostly to buy Palestinian scarves. Politicians in Ireland have slammed the bank’s unexplained move. Mary Lou McDonald, deputy leader of Sinn Féin, said that the closure was “outrageous” and “insulting to the Palestinian people.” She said:
Bank of Ireland should reopen the account and offer a public explanation as to why this happened in the first place.
Over the last year or more, the bank accounts of Palestine solidarity groups in Europe have been closed by banks citing only “risk appetite.” Groups in the UK have had accounts shut for similarly vague reasons. Banks including HSBC and the Co-operative Bank in the UK have offered no real explanation for the closures, but have anonymously briefed right-wing press with insinuations about “terrorism.” In Jul 2015, the UK PSC was told by the Co-operative Bank that its accounts would be shut. The group, hoping to resolve the matter through negotiation, did not go public until Nov 2015, when it launched a legal challenge. Other Palestine solidarity groups in the UK were similarly affected, including Friends of al-Aqsa and ISM. More recently, Palestine solidarity groups in Germany were similarly targeted. The IPSC has suggested that its supporters should consider shutting down Bank of Ireland accounts in protest at the decision, as well as making complaints to the bank’s head office.