A High Court judge has raised questions over the pace of the investigation into Anglo Irish Bank by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly has reserved judgment on an application to extend time for the investigation, saying it was the sixth time such an extension had been sought.

The judge said the investigation into potentially serious criminal matters, which began in February 2009, was 'nowhere near completion', despite a different position being put to him last year.

He remarked that last November he was told a part of the investigation would finish by the end of last year and was today told that work was still outstanding.

Another part of the investigation due for completion last March would not be finished until the end of 2011.

Lawyers for the ODCE told the court that the investigation was proceeding with all due haste with substantial resources employed.

However, 50 people had yet to be interviewed and a number were refusing to co-operate. The court heard that one person agreed to give a statement, but took nine months to produce it.

Two files relating to the investigation have been sent to the DPP. However, the judge said he was not being told what had happened since those files were sent.

Senior Counsel Paul O'Higgins said one of the files was 90% complete but a small amount of work was still outstanding.

Mr Justice Kelly said he was told last year that substantial progress had been made in relation to one part of the investigation and it would be completed by the end of the year.

He said: 'Now we have a situation in May 2011 where I am told it is 90% complete and a number of important interviews have yet to be conducted and material needs further examination. What does substantial completion mean?'

Mr O'Higgins said while he could not go into detail without compromising the investigation, matters arose from time to time in such an extensive investigation that had to be dealt with.

Counsel for Anglo Irish Bank Barry O'Donnell said the bank was not objecting to the application. He said all current staff were co-operating with the inquiry in a positive manner.

The judge said he was again acknowledging it was a complex investigation involving substantial amounts of material, but he was entitled to raise questions about the progress of that investigation in order to exercise his discretion to extend time.

He said the question arises 'is this investigation ever going to end?' He reserved judgment until next Tuesday.