THE loss of 600 jobs at Ulster Bank's operations in the Republic of Ireland will only be the first to be announced in 2012. Expect AIB to unveil its plans for 2,000 job cuts as soon as it can agree redundancy terms with the Government.
Ever since the credit-fuelled Irish property bubble burst in 2008, the job loss announcements have been coming thick and fast from the banks. Bank of Ireland axed 750 jobs in 2010. This week's announcement is the second round of job cuts from Ulster Bank, which previously shed 1,000 jobs in 2009.
Halifax exited the Irish market in 2010 with the loss of 750 jobs; Permanent TSB chopped 280 jobs in February 2011 while insurance giant Aviva announced up to 1,250 job losses at its Irish operations last October. Anglo and Irish Nationwide, which between them employed up to 2,200 people at the top of the market, are in the process of being wound down. EBS and its 650 jobs have been subsumed into AIB, while there are also worries about mortgage bank Permanent TSB, which still employs over 1,000 staff.
All in all, a very ugly picture. With plenty more job cuts to come, it's likely that at least half of the 60,000 people who were employed in banking and insurance in 2007 will have lost their jobs by the time the dust settles on the great Irish bust.
Sunday Indo Business