HC Deb 12 November 1917 vol 99 cc63-4W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether certain Irish banks have amalgamated with English institutions recently, giving the names of the different banks; is he aware that over twenty-two millions of Irish moneys have been transferred to England; has the Irish Government taken any steps to secure that this money can be made available for Irish purposes or enterprises; have the owners of the deposit accounts been consulted; and is it contemplated that they will get equal treatment as regards interest, etc., as is given depositors in the English banks concerned?


I understand that there has been no amalgamation of English banks with Irish banks, but the London, City and Midland Bank have recently acquired an interest in the Belfast Banking Company, and the London County and Westminster Bank has acquired an interest in the Ulster Bank on the following lines: The English banks have bought a certain quantity of the shares of the respective Irish banks from the shareholders in the latter, and payment has been effected by the issue to the shareholders of the Irish banks, who have accepted the proposal, of shares in the English banks on certain terms in exchange for their shares in the Irish banks. The London, County and Westminster have made a cash payment in addition to each shareholder. The result is that the accepting shareholders of the Irish banks have parted with their holdings and become shareholders in the English banks, while the English banks replace the Irish shareholders on the registers of the two Irish banks. The constitution of the Irish banks remains exactly as it was before, and there is no alteration in their status. There is no reason to suppose that the policy of the Irish banks, whose status remains unaltered, will in any way be changed to the detriment of Irish interests. The position of the depositors in the two Irish banks, whose deposits amount to about twenty-two millions, should be strengthened rather than impaired by the change. Depositors in the Irish banks are evidently not in any way prejudiced by these arrangements. Whether the bankers consulted them as to the proposed arrangements before making a public announcement, I do not know.