The Rural Independent Group says the closure of 88 Bank of Ireland branches, including three in Mayo, is a significant blow to the country.

It's describing it as a 'whittling away' of rural services.

Leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie McGrath says the country's town centres from Cashel to Dunmanway will be further hollowed as fewer people travel to towns with no bank branch.

He's describing the 88 Bank of Ireland branch closures as a devastating blow to rural communities.

He's accusing the government, who hold a 12 per cent stake in the bank, of remaining shamefully silent about this whittling away of rural services.

He says today, bank branches serving communities for over a century are now closed which will have a particularly dramatic impact on rural communities and towns nationwide.

He says the government, which pumped almost 30 billion euro of taxpayers' money into Ireland's three largest banks during the financial crisis including Bank of Ireland - has completely failed its duty of care to taxpayers and protection of customers' rights and access to banking services.