The Government will have to decide in the next 10 days on whether to press ahead with a planned initial public offering of AIB or put it off until later this year, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said today. 

"The first window was from mid-May to the end of June, we're in the middle of that window now so I'll have to make a decision either to go ahead or to wait for the next window in the autumn," Michael Noonan told RTÉ News. 

"We're watching the markets very carefully, which are quite benign, especially towards bank shares at present, but we're watching other events as well that could put us off track, like the election in the UK," he said. 

"The decision hasn't been made yet but will have to be made in the next 10 days," he added.

Mr Noonan also said today that he was looking forward to winding down. 

He said he had marked his 74 birthday last week and has been working now 54 years - as a teacher, a TD and a Minister - and was looking forward to taking things easier.