Belfast Telegraph

Banking staff 'must be protected'

Banking jobs in Northern Ireland need to be protected during the Republic's action to restructure its economy, Sammy Wilson has said.

The Stormont finance minister urged his Irish counterpart Brian Lenihan to recognise the importance of not relocating posts and ensuring Irish-owned banks are encouraged to lend to businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland.

He met Mr Lenihan after the presentation of budgets north and south of the border.

Mr Wilson said: "I took the opportunity to ensure Mr Lenihan was aware of the impact decisions in Dublin would have in Northern Ireland.

"In particular I asked him to ensure that his government's actions to restructure their banking sector did not directly damage our ability to recover from the current recession.

"I impressed on him the importance of not relocating jobs from Northern Ireland and ensuring that Irish-owned banks were encouraged to lend to businesses and consumers here."

The Irish government's International Monetary Fund bailout last year has heralded austerity measures which increased pressure on the Dublin coalition. With only a slim majority in parliament a general election is expected soon.

Mr Lenihan said he found the talks productive.

"It is very important that we secure jobs on this island," he said.

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