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Noonan: IBRC liquidation is 'crude' but staff in better position than most

The Finance Minister said that “insofar as we can” the interests of staff at the bank would be looked out as some 800 employees face uncertainty following the liquidation of the bank last week.

Michael Noonan speaking to reporters in Brussels this morning
Michael Noonan speaking to reporters in Brussels this morning
Image: Screengrab via European Council TV Newsroom

FINANCE MINISTER Michael Noonan has admitted the uncertainty over jobs at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is ‘crude’ but says that staff at the bank are in a better position than they would be in a normal liquidation process.

He was commenting on claims that staff at IBRC in the UK had had their contracts terminated last week when the government liquidated the failed bank – formerly Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide – but this is not the case.

The legislation which liquidated the bank cannot apply to workers in Northern Ireland and Great Britain meaning staff there have not automatically lost their jobs and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) says this is one of a number of issues that needs to be resolved.

Most IBRC staff are expected to be retained on rolling month-to-month contracts during the liquidation process as the bank’s assets are rolled into the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

Speaking in Brussels this morning, Noonan said that some staff will go on to work for NAMA, telling reporters that the government will look out for their interests “insofar as we can”.

“Liquidation is a fairly crude instrument always. This is a liquidation where staff are being  treated as they would be in any other liquidation,” he said.

“But unlike, you know, when the shop on the street closes down and the liquidator is put in, the liquidator here is re-employing people on monthly contracts, ongoing.

“But as well as that when NAMA gets involved in the acquisition of the assets it’s there intent to hire a cohort of staff as well who have been dealing with the particular files involved.

“So the staff are in a better position then they would be in a normal liquidation but that’s not to say that we don’t understand their position because a great many of the staff have given very long and very good service to the company and consequently to the country so insofar as we can we’ll be on the lookout for their interests.”

Some staff are expected to leave the bank once the terms of the liquidation process are worked out with around 800 workers in Ireland affected. IBOA met with liquidator Kieran Wallace from KPMG to discuss the process yesterday.

IBOA general secretary Larry Broderick said the meeting was the “the beginning of what we hope will continue to be a constructive engagement” between the parties.

He said: “The liquidator recognised the tremendous difficulty and uncertainty being created for staff in the present circumstances and agreed to review the issues of the duration of the contracts as soon as he had finalised the timeframe for the working through of the liquidation process.

Broderick added that he hoped to have further information on the time frame for the closing down each of the departments within the bank by the end of this week.

“At this point it should be possible to indicate the proposed length of tenure advise for the workers in each area so that IBOA can engage with the liquidator further on this matter,” he added.

Read: Union meeting with IBRC liquidator over future of 800 jobs

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Hugh O'Connell

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