The withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish market after 160 years of operations has been described as a bitter blow by Fine Gael TD and Oireachtas Finance Committee Member, Neale Richmond.
Deputy Richmond said: “While today’s announcement is not a massive surprise, it is a bitter blow.
“Over the coming hours and days, the bank’s 1.1 million customers and 2,800 staff across their 88 branches deserve certainty and support.
“Thankfully there are huge employment opportunities in the financial services sector but that will be of little succour to those employees who face a worrying period at the height of a global pandemic.
“The news of discussions with both AIB and Permanent TSB are welcome; this will hopefully provide certainty for many customers.
“Beyond the immediate concerns and fall out, we will also need to ask the hard questions, especially of the Central Bank of Ireland as to why such an established institution is leaving the Irish market and what lessons need to be learned?
“While the Government, rightly, plays no role in commercial decisions such as these, the regulatory frameworks and conditions governed by the Central Bank must be assessed.
“It is vital that representatives from both Ulster Bank and the Central Bank come before the Oireachtas Finance Committee to address concerns and provide clarity.
“I come very much from an Ulster Bank family. My late Mother worked in the bank straight from school. We were all customers from an early age and the Branch in Dundrum was visited regularly. Today is a sad day for their staff and customers and I urge everyone to work together to give as much certainty and support as possible.”