The State has further reduced its stake in Bank of Ireland today, bringing its shareholding in the bank to below 4%.

In a statement to the Dublin Stock Exchange, Bank of Ireland said the State's shareholding has been reduced to 3.996% from 4.93%.

The State's current 3.995% stake in Bank of Ireland compares to its sharehoding of 13.9% when it began a process of selling down some of its holding last June.

In total, the State put €4.7 billion into Bank of Ireland during the financial crisis, with the initial investment coming in early 2009.

Since then Bank of Ireland has returned more than €6 billion to the State. This makes it the only Irish bank to have repaid the Irish taxpayer for its support.

The current share sale process was due to conclude in January, however last month Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced that the deadline would be extended.