News & Media

Government must commit to Forum on Banking

11 March 2021

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Labour Party welcomes Financial Services Unions discussion paper on the future of banking in Ireland
  • Minister must now commit to an inclusive Forum to scope out the future of banking in Ireland 

Labour’s Finance spokesperson Ged Nash TD has said the government must commit to the establishment of a Forum on Banking to scope out the future of banking in Ireland.

Welcoming the proposal from the Financial Services Union (FSU) contained in its discussion paper on the future of banking, Deputy Nash said:

“The last three weeks have been tumultuous ones for banking and financial services in Ireland. 

“We have seen Ulster Bank announce plans to pull out of Ireland and Bank of Ireland signal their intention to close 103 branches across the island under the cover of Covid. All of these moves will have serious implications for the shape of the sector, for customers, for staff and for the economy more generally. 

“The banking sector is now at a crossroads. Despite the State holding a 75% shareholding in Permanent TSB, 71% in AIB and 14% in Bank of Ireland there is still no consensus view on what if any role the State and the banks in which we have a stake should play in shaping the banking and financial services landscape to better support our economy and society. 

“The current crisis and the changes we are seeing in Irish banking ought to serves as a reflection point to reimagine and re-orientate our banking model towards serving the interests of citizens, local businesses and the greater public good. 

“We can no longer allow the future of banking in this country to be decided by senior bankers and politicians alone. 

"In this context, the Financial Services Union (FSU) must be commended for proposing that a mature, informed and inclusive dialogue on the future of banking in Ireland must commence and in a structured way. 

“Since the financial crash we have seen far too many reactive and regressive crisis-driven decisions made with respect to our banking system. Now is the time to take a step back and reflect and the union’s discussion document is a welcome starting point on this journey. 

“We believe, like the FSU, that all stakeholders - customers, staff, their trade unions, management, business and employers’ groups, and other community interests –  must be given the space and opportunities to share their opinions on the future of banking in a structured forum backed by government. 

“I note that 76% of survey respondents support the establishment of such a forum, and with recent seismic events in the banking sector it is now imperative that the Minister for Finance commits to the creation of a multi-stakeholder banking forum as called for by the FSU.”