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Reports of NatWest's Irish exit a matter of real concern, says deputy PM

DUBLIN, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Media reports that NatWest may exit the Irish market after a months-long strategic review of its operations there is a matter of real concern, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday.

The Irish Times reported on Wednesday that the NatWest board was set to decide on Thursday on a proposal to wind down its operations in the Republic of Ireland. The Financial Times also reported it was preparing to start a phased withdrawal, citing sources familiar with its plans.

“It is a matter of real concern and one the government is taking very seriously and a matter of real concern to Ulster Bank’s customers, its staff and the communities it serves,” Varadkar told parliament, referring to NatWest’s Irish unit. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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