Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (170, 171)

Clare Daly

Question:

170. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which his attention has been drawn to the programme of local branch closures of a bank (details supplied); if this is being carried out in order to increase the attractiveness of a potential sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19544/19]

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Clare Daly

Question:

171. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the action he is prepared to take to renegotiate the relationship framework agreement between a bank (details supplied) and the State on strategic and day-to-day management decisions in order to protect local communities from the impact of branch closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19545/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 171 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, AIB is an independent company with listings on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges. Decisions in regard to branches are the sole responsibility of the board and management of AIB which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The bank's independence is protected by a Relationship Framework which is a legally binding document that cannot be changed unilaterally. This framework which is publicly available, was insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market. The AIB Relationship Framework can be found here:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/597d15-aib-relationship-framework-agreement-june-2017/

Notwithstanding this my Department does not hold the information that is being sought. However officials from my department contacted AIB and was provided with the following response:

"AIB Bank does not have any plans to undertake a programme of local branch closures. The bank remains deeply committed to its branch network all over Ireland. AIB has 200 branches and there are more than 70 EBS branches, all of which form a very important part of the Group’s sustainability strategy, including its presence in communities across the country."