The Minister for Finance has said it continues to be his objective to ensure the State does not remain long-term shareholders in the country's main banks.

Paschal Donohoe stated that he has always said the decision on selling the Government's stakes in the bailed out banks needs to be taken in the context of market prices at any given period. 

He said everyone is aware of the changes in equity markets, particularly regarding bank shares, in the past year.

"So we will continue to monitor what could happen and what is happening, with a view to looking at the right opportunity to reduce our shareholding," he said.

Asked whether the departure of Bank of Ireland's chief financial officer to CRH strengthened the case for a lifting of the restrictions on bankers' bonuses, Mr Donohoe said it is a factor.

"I am looking at what is happening at management levels in our banks at the moment," he said.

"Particularly in the context of what is now happening with the large number of banks and expanded financial services presences here in Ireland that are not subject to our remuneration policy for our core Irish banks," he added.

But he said he is also aware of other issues like the status of where the tracker mortgage investigation is at and the ongoing public anger regarding the circumstances that led to the elevated level of public debt.

He said he has received an update on the matter and a perspective from the Central Bank and is reflecting on the best course of action.

The Minister for Finance also said the incoming Governor of the Central Bank will make a statement addressing the controversy surrounding his handling of the aftermath of the leaking of the national budget in New Zealand, before taking up his new role here.

Incoming Central Bank chief Gabriel Makhlouf

New Zealand's State Services Commission criticised Gabriel Makhlouf's "clumsy" handling of embarrassing budget leaks last month.

Mr Makhlouf initially said the leaks resulted from systematic and deliberate hacking.

However, it soon emerged that the treasury had not fallen victim to a sophisticated cyber-attack, but had accidentally published budget details on its website.

Paschal Donohoe said today the issue has to be seen in the light of somebody who has had a career for three decades at the highest level of public service in many different jurisdictions.

"It goes without saying that I wish this issue had not occurred in the way it did," he said.

"It happened in the aftermath of us making the appointment. From engaging directly with Mr Makhlouf, both during the recruitment process and in the aftermath of it, it continues to be evident to me that he is a public servant of the highest calibre who I think will provide an excellent leadership of our Central Bank."

Mr Donohoe said he knows that as we approach the point where Mr Makhlouf takes over as the new Governor, a statement to respond back to the report of the State Services Commission in New Zealand will happen.

"I know he is aware of the debate that has ignited here in Ireland, and he also wants to ensure he can spend the early part of his tenure focusing on on his work as the new Governor of the Central Bank," Minister Donohoe said.