Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle calls for Government to intervene to retain Ulster Bank services, jobs

Pringle calls for Government to intervene to retain Ulster Bank services, jobs

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has called on Government to intervene to retain Ulster Bank as a retail banking entity in Ireland as news broke last night that the future of the bank was in jeopardy.

Deputy Pringle said: “Banks are always driven by profit margins and not the needs of the communities they serve. We need the Government to step in, stand with the people, and make sure the needs of communities in Donegal and across Ireland are served and the jobs of thousands of people are protected.”

The board of NatWest is expected to decide on Thursday evening whether to wind down Ulster Bank in the Republic. Ulster Bank currently has branches in Killybegs, Donegal town, Ballybofey, Letterkenny and Buncrana, with a mobile bank based in Donegal town that serves other communities, including those that Ulster Bank previously abandoned in Ardara, Raphoe, Lifford, and Moville.

Deputy Pringle will raise the issue in the Dáil today during Order of Business.

Deputy Pringle said: “The problem is that Ulster Bank is owned by Nat West, so there is no Irish ownership at all. But Ulster Bank could be transferred lock, stock, and barrel to another entity, increasing the reach of the bank and protecting jobs.”  He pointed to Permanent TSB, which is owned by the Irish State.

Deputy Pringle said: “That would be the best outcome. We have to wonder is Irish state even looking into that? We don’t know.”

Ulster Bank employs about 2,600 people in the Republic of Ireland, and there are up to a further 600 jobs in the North that provide services to Ulster Bank in the South and could be affected by a decision to wind down services.

Deputy Pringle said: “The five Ulster Bank branches in Donegal are among 88 branches across the country. When we talk about branches, we’re talking about many, many thousands of people who will be affected by this decision, people who work there, people who bank there, people who have home and business mortgages with Ulster Bank.

“What’s going to happen to mortgage holders whose mortgages are going to be offloaded to vulture funds? The banking industry is changing hugely, but these job losses, taken out of anybody’s control, will have a huge impact on families across Donegal and across the country.

“The Department of Finance and the Central Bank must intervene to protect the interests of the Irish people,” he said.

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