Fianna Fáil backbencher Ned O'Keeffe has criticised the decision to give Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield extra resources and has praised his predecessor Patrick Neary.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Deputy O'Keeffe said there was nothing worse than financial over-regulation, which he claimed brought about mischief and blackguarding.

He asked what Mr Elderfield would do with the proposed complement of 700 staff in his office claiming there were not that many bank branches in Ireland.

The Cork East TD said Mr Neary was a decent and honourable man who initially had to operate without staff or legislation.

Mr O’Keefe defended AIB, which he claimed had served the agricultural sector better than any other bank.

He told TDs that he held shares in a number of institutions including AIB and he wanted to see it owned by the people and not the State.