As the Deputy will be aware, my Department and the Department of Rural and Community Development published a Report on Local Public Banking at the beginning of July of this year. The Report concludes that there is not a compelling case for the State to use Exchequer funds to establish a new local public banking system.
However, as set out in the Report on Local Public Banking, my Department will be commissioning an independent, external evaluation to establish if there is a requirement for local and community banking in Ireland and, if so, whether there are other possible ways in which the broad objectives of local and community banking could be furthered in Ireland.
Officials in my Department are currently preparing for a tender process to engage an external consultant. It is envisaged that the tender process will be concluded by the end of this year, with a view for the evaluation process to begin in early 2019. Part of the remit of the external evaluator will be to assemble and hold a stakeholder forum which will provide an opportunity for interested parties to share their views.