The Government has acquired Irish Life for €1.3 billion. The development had been expected for some months.

The life assurance company had been put up for sale by its parent company Irish Life and Permanent last year.

However, the planned sale fell through due to concerns about the eurozone.

The Government then decided to acquire Irish Life and take it into State ownership with a view to selling it when markets conditions improve.

The transaction took place under the emergency banking legislation.

In a statement, Irish Life and Permanent said that Irish Life will now be directly owned in its entirety by the Minister for Finance. IL&P said the minister intends to dispose of it as ''soon as market conditions permit''.

IL&P said that today's move will have no impact on the position of bank customers or life policyholders or on their accounts and policies and existing terms and conditions will continue to apply.

Irish Life and Permanent Chairman Alan Cook said that the order was a necessary step to complete the recapitalisation of the group's banking business Permanent TSB and would also safeguard the future position of Irish Life.

"The financial crisis has exacted an enormous toll on our shareholders, our customers, the taxpayer and the wider community and I know that everyone involved with our Group deeply regrets how events have unfolded,'' he said.

''Our focus now must be on minimising any further call on the Irish taxpayer and maximising the potential to build sustainable, customer focused businesses which in time can repay the taxpayer for the support we have been given. I believe that this court order lays the foundation for the next phase of that work to begin'', he added.