Irish banks' reliance on funding from the European Central Bank fell by almost 2% in June from a month earlier.

New Central Bank figures show that outstanding loans dropped to €46.1 billion last month.

The country's banks still rely heavily on funding for their day-to-day operations.

But they have managed to trim that dependence from a high of €187 billion in February 2011 by shrinking their balance sheets and making a tentative return to capital markets.

Analysts predict that the reliance on funding from the ECB is likely to continue falling in the coming months.