The trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank executives, including Seán FitzPatrick, over alleged financial irregularities at the bank will not take place until next year.

Mr FitzPatrick, who was the former chairman and chief executive, former finance director Willie McAteer and former managing director in Ireland Patrick Whelan are all charged with 16 offences under the Companies Act.

They are accused of permitting Anglo to give financial assistance to Patricia Quinn, her five children and ten senior clients of the bank to enable them to buy shares in the bank.

The Circuit Criminal Court was told that 24 million documents may have to be considered before the trial can begin.

Prosecuting counsel Una Ni Raifeartaigh said disclosure in the case was complex and it was not simply about supplying the material to the defence, it was also a matter of culling and organising it.

She said the defence needed to be given an adequate opportunity to absorb the material.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring set a trial date of 13 January next year and said if it cannot be done by then it says something about the system.

The judge was also told the trial is expected to last at least three months.

The three were remanded on continuing bail to appear again on 6 March.