The Minister for Finance has said the issue of the restrictions on bankers' pay will be considered as part of his department's ongoing review of the retail banking system.
Speaking to RTÉ News at a public dialogue session of the banking review in Tullamore today, Paschal Donohoe said he expects it will be the kind of issue that he will receive lots of feedback on.
"Different views do exist in relation to that topic but I think it is important that the matter is considered in the round," he said.
"And that is why it will be no doubt an issue that will be brought forward by banks and their representative bodies and we will consider that in the work that is underway."
"I recognise this is an issue of real public interest, but I also know it is an issue in which there are increasing views about the matter being articulated within the banking sector and we will consider that in the work we have underway."
The minister’s comments come amid growing pressure on the Government to relax or do away with the restrictions on bankers pay.
Lenders claim the restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for them to attract and retain talent.
Mr Donohoe said the background to the review is the amount of change in the retail banking sector here, particularly over the last number of years, including the planned withdrawal of two banks from the economy and the change that is happening regarding how consumers want banking services provided to them.
He said because of all those developments there is a need to look to the future and to create a new strategy for the future of retail banking for our country.
The department’s survey of consumers’ attitudes to banking showed, he said, that while progress has been made on banking here, more needs to be done.
He said the results showed that there are many people who want to see further progress made.
Regarding the question of reduced competition, Mr Donohoe said he had acknowledged that the exit of Ulster Bank was something of a concern from the point of view of consumer choice.
He said this is one of the reasons why today’s seminar and the survey were taking place.
He said the Government does want to find ways in which Ireland can continue to have healthy competition in banking and within which choice for consumers can still be maintained and delivered.
Mr Donohoe predicted that there would continue to be healthy competition between the banks, but he also acknowledged that there has been a significant development in relation to consumer choice.
Asked whether, given the flux in the banking market at present, now was a good time for the State to be selling down its shares in Bank of Ireland and AIB, he said the Government had always made clear that it could only happen when it makes commercial sense and when good value is achieved for the Irish taxpayer in the long-term and that will continue to be the guiding principle.