Fairfax's Watsa says in Bank of Ireland for 'the long term'

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Prem Watsa speaks during the company's annual meeting in Toronto April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Aaron Harris

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Fairfax Financial FFH.TO Chief Executive Prem Watsa plans to retain his stake in Bank of Ireland BKIR.I "for the long term", despite an announcement on Monday that investment ally Wilbur Ross planned to sell out.

Bank of Ireland’s second largest private shareholder with 5.8 percent, Watsa bought into the bank alongside Ross in 2011 and sold part of his stake with Ross in March.

“We will continue to hold our shares of the bank for the long-term,” Watsa said in an email to Reuters.

“It is our understanding that Wilbur’s decision to sell is entirely unrelated to the business or future prospects of Bank of Ireland,” he said.

Reporting by Laura Noonan; Writing by Conor Humphries, editing by David Evans