I propose to take Questions Nos. 63 and 66 together.
I am aware that NatWest is engaged in a strategic review of its operations, including those of its subsidiary, Ulster Bank, thanks to media reports published last month. The Government has no formal role in such a review or any commercial decisions that result, as these are a matter for the Board and Management of the Bank and its parent company, NatWest.
However, following these media reports, officials from my Department contacted Ulster Bank and NatWest. Both Ulster Bank and NatWest highlighted that work on the review is ongoing and no decisions have yet been made. Furthermore, NatWest confirmed that there is no set timetable for this review and that it is fully aware of the strategically important role that Ulster Bank plays in the provision of financial services to the Irish market.
With regard to further contact, I am meeting with representatives of Ulster Bank today.