The Minister for Finance has started the process of selling the State's shareholding in Bank of Ireland.

According to a filing at the London Stock Exchange, the Government's stake in the bank has fallen from 13.95% to just below 13%.

Paschal Donohoe announced in June that he intended to start the process of selling the State shareholding before the end of the year subject to market conditions.

Citigroup Global Markets was appointed to manage the process.

This marks the first sale of some of the Government's holdings in the country's banks since 2017.

The chief executive of Bank of Ireland this morning welcomed the Minister's June statement that he intended to start selling the State's shareholding in the bank.

Francesca McDonagh said it was a "milestone moment" for the bank.

She said the return of the bank to private ownership should herald a "normalisation" of the remuneration landscape for bankers.

Ms McDonagh said Bank of Ireland was operating at a competitive disadvantage compared to other banks in Ireland, other corporates in Ireland and banks across Europe.

The payment of bonuses at Irish banks has effectively been banned since the financial crash.

The CEO said the restrictions were the "right thing at the right time" but now was the time for a remuneration policy shift as the government prepares to sell down its stake in Bank of Ireland.

Ms McDonagh was speaking as Bank of Ireland reported an underlying pre-tax profit of €465 million for the first six months of the year.