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:
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."