Two former directors of Anglo Irish Bank have been sentenced to 240 hours of community service for giving illegal loans to ten developers to buy shares in the bank.

Anglo's former director of lending in Ireland Patrick Whelan, 53, and 63-year-old William McAteer, the bank's former finance director, were convicted in April of giving the loans to ten customers of the bank six years ago.

Judge Martin Nolan was handed in reports from the probation service showing both men had cooperated fully with the service and had been assessed as being suitable for community service.

The judge sentenced them each to 240 hours of community service to be completed within the next year.

He said if they had been assessed as being unsuitable for community service, he would have imposed a jail sentence of two years.

As the brief hearing ended, Judge Nolan told both men to enjoy their community service.

This was the first ever prosecution of offences under section 60 of the 1963 Companies Act.

The jury found the men were guilty of giving illegal loans to the 'Maple Ten' developers as part of a scheme to deal with the huge stake Sean Quinn had built-up in the bank through gambling on its share price.

Judge Nolan had adjourned sentencing the two men after strongly criticising the role of the Financial Regulator in the matter.

In his earlier sentencing ruling, Judge Nolan strongly criticised the Financial Regulator's attitude and behaviour.

He said it would be most unjust to jail the two men when it seemed to him a State agency had led them into error and illegality.

It is now up to the probation services to decide on an appropriate way for the men to carry out their community service.