Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 14 October, 1998

Written Answers. - State Banking Sector.

45. Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Finance his policy in relation to ACC; if it is his intention that ACC remain in public ownership; and the arrangements, if any, he will put in place to protect the interests of both management and staff at ACC. [19593/98]

62. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Finance when he proposes to dispose of the State's interest in ICC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19514/98]

104. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Finance the Government's proposals for the future of the TSB, ICC and ACC banks. [19608/98]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 45, 62 and 104 together.

As Deputies will be aware, the Government decided in July last to dispose of the State's shareholding in ICC Bank plc and I am currently fully engaged in giving effect to this decision. I have established a partnership group, comprising representatives of my Department and the board, management and staff of the bank, to assist in the management of the disposal. I have also established a group representative of my Department and the board of the bank to deal with issues where the board has specific legal responsibilities. Within ICC Bank, a number of working groups have been set up to examine, and prepare for the partnership group, various matters relevant to the [432] disposal. These groups are now meeting and are making good progress on the various issues coming before them. I have also advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities for consultants to advise me in relation to the disposal and I expect to appoint my advisers shortly.

In relation to ACC and TSB Banks, the boards and managements of both banks recently indicated their interest in exploring the option of a merger of banks and a flotation of the merged entity, an option which the staff unions in both banks support. The banks have now entered into formal discussions on the matter. I welcome this development and I will give positive and careful consideration to the outcome of these discussions.