As part of their regular engagement with the banks in which the State has a shareholding, officials in my Department discuss a wide range of topics, including loan sales. I am answering the question the Deputy put to me in written format. What he has just said orally is different. For example, in the case of Project Glas, the project recently announced by Permanent TSB to sell a portfolio of non-performing loans, officials were first briefed by the bank on the timing of the sale and potential composition of the portfolio in the week commencing 15 January. Officials, in turn, briefed me on the matter on 19 January as I have previously indicated.
As this information was commercially sensitive and as I am obliged to comply with Stock Exchange disclosure and market abuse rules, I was not in a position to discuss it publicly at the time. In addition to the regular engagement Department officials have with the banks, I recently met senior officials of the majority of our Irish retail domestic banks and intend to do so again, as well as holding similar meetings with the other banks. At these meetings, loan sales were discussed, where relevant. The Deputy will be aware in this regard that it is not appropriate for me to put any more facts into the public domain over and above what the banks themselves have disclosed as I must respect the Stock Exchange disclosure rules.
It is worth noting that in the case of Permanent TSB, no loan has been sold yet and it will not be known how many loans will be sold nor the composition of these loans for a number of months. In addition, it is not known at this stage to whom they will be sold. For clarity, I want to highlight to the Deputy that I cannot stop these sales, even by the banks in which the State has a shareholding.
They are the responsibility of the boards and management of the banks, which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The banks' independence is protected by relationship frameworks, which are legally-binding documents that I cannot change unilaterally.