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Cross-border body to raise sale of bank

The sale of the First Trust in Northern Ireland will be raised at the next meeting of cross border body the North/South Ministerial Council, a spokesman for a trade union representing bank workers has said.

Irish parent bank Allied Irish (AIB) announced the sale of First Trust in Northern Ireland and the UK division of AIB earlier this year as it attempts to raise €7bn in capital to avoid nationalisation.

Trade union IBOA, the Finance Union, met the First and Deputy First Ministers on Monday. A union spokesman said: "The outcome of the meeting is that the matter will be raised at the next North/South Ministerial Council meeting, with the Northern Ireland Executive asking the Republic of Ireland Government to use its influence upon the AIB board to urge caution against any potential damaging sale of the Bank."

The IBOA also led a delegation from AIB in Britain and First Trust to the Houses of Parliament yesterday to outline their concerns about the implications of the sale.

After the meeting with MPs and peers, Larry Broderick, IBOA general secretary, said: "Forcing a sale of UK operations at a time when international financial markets are in the doldrums will almost inevitably result in a fire sale. The size of the British market means that any buyer is most likely to be interested in the loan book of AIB in Great Britain and not the branch network or staff."