Noonan says if returned to Government he'll immediately begin the sale of 25% of AIB

The privatisation process could take up to 10 years

Exchequer, tax take, November, economy, borrowing, Michael Noonan

Michael Noonan | Image: RollingNews.ie

Minister Noonan says AIB has now recovered to the point that the process of commencing its re-privatising can begin early next year and that he will "press the button," on an IPO if his party returns to power.

Mr Noonan's comments come as the bank has today repaid €1.64bn to the State. It's the first tranche repaying the €21bn invested in the bank during the financial crisis - the Minister reiterated that he is confident that all of this money will be recovered by the taxpayer.

He added that the re-floatation is likely to be the third biggest IPO in the history of the London stock exchange - it is also likely that there will be a secondary listing in Dublin.

The first stage of that re-privatisation process should begin in the middle of 2016, with the Government selling an initial 25% stake as part of a new listing of AIB’s shares on the stock market.

Meanwhile, consumer groups and Labour TD John Lyons have criticised AIB for offering Irish soccer fans loans worth up to €30,000 to travel to Euro 2016 - the bank has defended its credit policy.