STAFF at IBRC are being treated better than at other businesses that have gone into liquidation, even as their contracts are terminated, Finance Minister Michael Noonan claimed yesterday.
The 800 Irish-based staff had their contracts with the former Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide terminated when the bank was rushed into liquidation last week. About 150 UK staff meanwhile have retained their contracts as they are in a different jurisdiction.
Arriving at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, Mr Noonan was adamant the rank and file staff at the bank would be treated as fairly as possible given the circumstances.
"Clearly liquidation is a fairly crude instrument and this is one where staff are being treated as they would be in any other business," he said.
"Unlike a shop closing on the street, the liquidator here is re-employing people on ongoing contracts and, as well as that, when NAMA gets involved in the acquisition of the assets it's their intention to hire a cohort of staff [from IBRC] so the staff are in a better position than in a normal liquidation.
"We are, however, aware of their position because many staff have given very long and good service to the company and the country. So as far we can we will be looking out for their interests," he said.
Banking union the IBOA has criticised the decision to terminate service contracts with IBRC employees. Yesterday the union's head Larry Broderick met with KPMG's Kieran Wallace who has been appointed as liquidator to the business.
Mr Noonan also welcomed S&P's decision to upgrade its outlook on Irish debt from "negative" to "stable", saying it would ease the country's path back to the international markets.
"Two of the ratings agencies have now moved us from negative to stable and that helps our market position," he said.
"We've seen how interest rates have gone down since we got the promissory notes agreement last week and the ratings agencies are endorsing that, so we think we'll continue to progress and keep us in a pretty solid position," he said.