Ulster Bank’s decision to withdraw from the market in the Republic of Ireland is “a hammer blow for staff and customers in Galway city”, according to a former Mayor.
Labour Galway City West councillor, Niall McNelis is calling on the Government to intervene to ensure that jobs are saved, and that the local branch network is protected through the creation of a third banking force. Ulster Bank employs 2,800 people across the State.
“My immediate thoughts and concerns are with the bank’s dedicated staff whose future is uncertain,” said Cllr McNelis. “Any sale or potential merger must respect the right of staff to have their existing terms and conditions transferred with them and compulsory redundancies should be off the table.
“The Minister for Finance has repeatedly said that any decision by NatWest on the future of Ulster Bank is for them to make. Now that decision has been made there is an onus on the Minister to take on the responsibility to chart a way forward in the interests of staff, customers and competition.”
Cllr McNelis said it was vital to avoid “the piecemeal dismantling of the bank” and its operations by vulture funds, and other Irish banks, as that would “damage any effort” to create a real third force.
“It is incumbent on the Government and the Minister for Finance,” he said, “to drive such an outcome rather than acting as commentators.”