The Central Bank needs to break its silence and deal with a number of important questions arising from the debacle at Ulster Bank in recent days which has affected up to 150,000 of the banks own customers and customers of other banks, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath stated, “The ‘technical’ IT problems being experienced by Ulster Bank since Wednesday have caused enormous distress and inconvenience for thousands of ordinary customers of that bank and of other banks. It is completely unacceptable that customers have been unable to access their own accounts and have not received their wages or social welfare payments. This could potentially develop into an even more serious crisis if it is not fully resolved in the next 48 hours.

“Ulster Bank Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and yet the Central Bank has been remarkably silent on the saga over the past four days. It is inconceivable that there is no statement whatsoever on the Central Bank’s website as of this morning dealing with this critical issue which has badly affected 150,000 customers.

“One of the key tasks assigned to the Central Bank is consumer protection. The Central Bank needs to break its silence and make a statement setting out:

1.      Details of the problem that occurred at Ulster Bank

2.      What is being done to resolve the problem

3.      Its advice to customers of Ulster Bank and of other banks affected by the issue

4.      A reassurance that customers who have missed a mortgage or other payment will not have a black mark recorded against them in their credit history

5.      A reassurance that customers will not be in any way penalised by way of charges, interest and penalties by virtue of the breakdown of the Ulster Bank systems
6.      Whether other banks operating in Ireland have adequate contingency plans in place to deal with IT faults such as has occurred here.

“People are entirely at the mercy of financial institutions when it comes to the administration of their personal finances and they need to be assured that adequate systems and safeguards are in place to protect their funds when issues such as this arise. I am calling on the Central Bank to make a comprehensive statement on this issue without any further delay.”