Taoiseach Brian Cowen has again defended his handling of financial regulation, saying everything that could be done would be done to recover a €1m bonus paid to former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton.

The issue of payments and perks of senior financiers was this morning raised in the Dáil.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny raised the issue of payments to Michael Fingleton.

Mr Fingleton was paid €55,000 per month for the first four months of last year, as well as getting a €1m bonus after the State guarantee was put in place.

Mr Kenny said the Government appeared powerless to deal with senior bankers who were thumbing their noses at the office of Taoiseach.

Brian Cowen said the Government supported the efforts of the management and board of Irish Nationwide to recover the money, and that everything that can be done will be done.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said it was 'not credible' that Mr Cowen had not heard anything about improper practices at Irish Nationwide in the four years he was Minister for Finance.

But Mr Cowen said there had been an independent regulator - it was not his responsibility as Minister to oversee financial institutions.