DOVER, N.H. - The Federal Reserve Board has approved the purchase of Dover-based Great Bay Bankshares by Bank of Ireland First Holdings Inc., Dublin.

Under the deal, Great Bay subsidiary Southeast Bank for Savings will be bought by Manchester, N.H.-based First NH Bank, Bank of Ireland's New Hampshire subsidiary.

The merger will be completed March 29, when each share of Great Bay stock will be converted into the right to receive $19.50 in cash. Also, Great Bay's Constitution Trust Co. will be acquired by First NH Investment Services Corp.

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