State should commit to selling 50pc of AIB by 2019 - Hayes
The Government should sell off its stake in AIB as soon as possible and commit to ridding itself of 50pc of its shares by 2019, an Irish MEP has said.
Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said the country paid too high a price for saving the banks and that it should now look recover as much of its investment as possible.
"The total state investment in AIB was €21bn and by July close to €6.5bn will have been recovered from AIB.
"The new government should sell AIB as soon as it is practical. In my view it's not in Ireland's long-term interest to have large state holdings in the banking sector," Mr Hayes said.
The Dublin MEP went on to say the State holding a stake in the banking sector negatively affects competition in the area.
"It doesn't help competition in the sector. It discourages new entrants from coming into the banking market, offering new products and competing with the pillar banks for business. If ever we need new entrants it's now.
"The government should make a firm commitment that the state's holding in AIB should be no more than 50% by the start of 2019.
"It is important for the government to get out of the banking business because it often leaves the government entangled in the sometimes competing interests of corporate profit and customer protection," the minister said.