Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements
I thank the Deputy. The Minister for Finance is leading on this issue on behalf of the Government. He has been in touch, as recently as yesterday, with Ulster Bank and its parent, NatWest. He has also met with the FSU. He is keeping me, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport, Deputy Ryan, informed of the situation but he is the lead person for the Government on all aspects relating to the Ulster Bank situation.
I understand that any restructuring that may occur will probably be for the Republic of Ireland, not for Northern Ireland, but that may change. In response to Deputy Doherty's request earlier, I know the Minister for Finance will be happy to brief Opposition spokespeople on this as the situation evolves but, unfortunately, just like Deputy O'Reilly, we are hearing a lot of it from the media also. I know that must be a very unpleasant experience for staff and for customers also. We have not been informed, and my Department has to be formally informed of any collective redundancies. We have received no notification of that as things stand. Obviously, the objectives of Government, to the extent that it is involved in this, and these are commercial decisions for NatWest, are to protect the customers, save as many jobs as is possible and minimise the number of compulsory redundancies and obviously the use of TUPE is an option in that regard.