The Minister for Finance has announced that the Government has resumed its AIB share trading plan.

The plan aims to gradually reduce the State's investment in the bank, while it is also improving liquidity in the shares.

Back in June the Government raised €305m through the sale of a 5% stake in the bank and cut its majority shareholding to 63.5%.

The AIB share trading plan was first announced last December, and was extended in June 2022, but was then paused on June 28 following the disposal of shares in AIB by way of an accelerated bookbuild.

The state agreed to a "lock-up" period which meant that it was unable to sell further shares in AIB for 90 days.

It said that lock-up period has now been completed and Merrill Lynch International has resumed the AIB share trading plan under the same terms and conditions as were agreed in June.

"Following the successful disposal of 5% of the issued share capital of AIB by the State in June, the share trading plan has now resumed following a "lock-up" period and this will allow us to continue to reduce our shareholding in the bank gradually over time," Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said.

"I will continue to keep other monetisation options open, should these opportunities present themselves," he added.

Minister Donohoe said the Government continues to believe that banking in the main is an activity that should be provided by the private sector.

"Taxpayer funds which were used to rescue the banks should be recovered and used for more productive purposes," he added.

The State ended up with 99.9% of AIB after bailing out the Irish banking sector following a massive property crash more than a decade ago.

The Department of Finance said the share trading plan will end no later than 24 January 2023, unless further extended by the Minister.

It said it will sell up to, but no more than 15% of the expected aggregate total trading volume in the bank over that period.

"The number of shares sold will depend on market conditions, amongst other factors. In line with the Government's commitment to deliver best value for the taxpayer, shares will not be sold below a pre-determined floor price, which the Department of Finance will keep under review," it said.