Shares in what were once regarded as the two premier banks in the country are to be suspended from 6.30am tomorrow.

The Central Bank said this evening that they had been informed by the Irish Stock Exchange that share dealing in Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland are to be suspended pending the announcement tomorrow of the results of the 'stress tests' on the Irish banking sector.

In a statement, the Central Bank said that having considered the matter with the ISE, this decision was taken in the belief that it is the most effective way to support 'the integrity of market trading in the financial sector' pending tomorrow's crunch findings on the banks.

The Central Bank said that the move was necessary in order to avoid the possibility of 'a disorderly market' due to the circulation of rumours or information throughout tomorrow as well as the fact that the banks themselves may not be able to comment before the formal announcement in the afternoon by the Central Bank.

The temporary suspensions take effect from 6.30am.