230 jobs to go at Bank of Ireland in Northern Ireland

Bank of Ireland

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The Bank of Ireland has said that it is cutting 230 jobs at its operations in Northern Ireland.

It follows an announcement in July that 750 jobs were going across its business in the UK and Ireland.

The bank said Thursday's announcement was the first part of that restructuring.

The bank is the biggest lender in the Irish Republic and was badly hit by the banking crisis with billions of euros of its property loans going bad.

As well as the job losses in Northern Ireland, another 40 are expected to go elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Most of the cuts are as a result of the bank moving business support facilities from Belfast and London to the bank's existing operations in Dublin and Bristol.

In the summer, the bank said it expected job losses to be on a voluntary basis.

'Agreed'

Start Quote

Unfortunately the reason we are here today is because of very serious mismanagement, not just in Bank of Ireland but right across the industry”

End Quote Larry Broderick Irish Bank Officials Association

The restructuring plan was approved the EU in July - a necessary step because of rules governing state aid to business.

The bank said the plan has subsequently been agreed with the main banking union, the IBOA.

It added that there would now be a 90-day consultation period with affected staff.

A spokesperson said it remained committed to Northern Ireland and would be opening a new branch at Donegall Square in the centre of Belfast.

"Bank of Ireland is committed to growing its business in Northern Ireland and supporting its customers through its extensive branch network and experienced customer service staff."

Larry Broderick of the Irish Bank Officials Association said staff were being made to pay for the mistakes of management.

"Unfortunately the reason we are here today is because of very serious mismanagement, not just in Bank of Ireland but right across the industry," said the banking union spokesman

"In order to continue with government ownership, as part of the bank's strategy going forward, it means staff will unfortunately have to lose their jobs."

Economy Minister Arlene Foster said she was disappointed but all was not lost.

"They are talking about quite a significant number of jobs, but we also understand there will also be opportunities for redeployment within branch structures, so it's a developing picture," she said.

In 2007, Bank of Ireland announced it would be employing 149 people in Belfast in fund administration.

The investment was to be backed by £2m of Invest NI grants.

However, the operation employed just 20 people and only £84,000 of the grant was drawn down.

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