Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 14:38 UK

Ulster Bank IT problems 'horrendous', says NI secretary

The IT problems affecting Ulster Bank have been causing "horrendous" difficulties to its customers, Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has said.

On 4 July 2012, as Mr Paterson and his team took MPs' questions, he was urged by North Down MP Lady Hermon "to find a long-term solution to this agonising problem for many, many people, which has heaped misery upon misery upon misery".

Customers at Ulster Bank are still affected by a computer failure at the bank's parent company RBS.

The secretary of state sympathised with the plight of those affected, but he said that ultimately it was up to the bank to find the solution.

But shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker said the situation in Northern Ireland had reached a "crisis" point.

"Many families can't pay their mortgage, their rent, get their groceries, buy food, or put petrol in their car and older people can't get access to their pensions," he said.

Mr Coaker demanded to know what action the government was taking to "sort this mess out", and called on ministers to hold "an emergency summit... of all the people who are responsible for this".

Northern Ireland minister Hugo Swire said the government would ensure that the difficulties were "cleared up and cleared up quickly, so that people can go about their normal business in Northern Ireland".

But the task had not been made easier by the need to "walk around with a giant pooper scooper to clear up the mess left by his [the previous Labour] government", Mr Swire complained.

Northern Ireland: Government and opposition

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