The issue of alternative ways of banking in rural areas is one that I had to look into as part of my community safety role. The ability to use post offices for banking lies in the hands of the British Bankers Association, which has 28 members, one of which is the Allied Irish Bank, which provides the Post Office’s banking.
It is quite clear that there is an opportunity to resolve the issue and to give the post offices in our rural areas maximum banking facilities. Has the minister ever discussed with the British Bankers Association whether the Post Office could be approved for full banking facilities? I understand that that is possible and lies in the hands of that association. The minister might have to address the question to Westminster, which I implore her to do, because that would solve a lot of problems. I have met people on the islands and in other rural areas who said that there is no problem in doing that.