Michael Noonan has given the clearest indication yet that he will endorse Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher's €843,000 pay package at a shareholder vote next week.
It would be a sharp turnaround from last year, when Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned bank chief's to expect pay cuts.
Now, however, the Finance Minister has said he doesn't believe he can abstain again this year in the vote on the pay of Bank of Ireland chief Richie Boucher at the lender's AGM.
He told TDs and senators that the bank's activities had managed to enhance the value of the State's shareholding and that there had been cost reductions across the lender following the review of pay practices at the banks by consultants Mercer.
Addressing the Oireachtas Finance Committee, he quoted Judge Martin Nolan, who was presiding over the Anglo trial, as saying it would be unfair and wrong to treat individual bankers on the basis of legacy issues that came from the crash – signalling he may vote in favour of the pay packet.
"These are very strong figures coming from the Mercer report, so I don't think I'd be justified in abstaining again,'' Mr Noonan said.
The minister has previously said the Government cannot cut Mr Boucher's €840,000 pay packet.
He has insisted the Government capped bank salaries at €500,000 but arrangements for Mr Boucher had been entered into prior to his becoming a minister.
The AGM is due to be held on April 25.
As a minority shareholder with less than a 14pc stake, the minister would not be able to change the amount paid to Mr Boucher and the other directors – even if he opposed the deal.
Last year, the minister abstained in the vote amid the work being carried out by Mercer and a report by the bank into how it would cut its wage bill.
Mr Noonan last year ordered Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB to cut their bills for pay and pensions by between 6pc and 10pc.
Mr Boucher last year received a salary of €843,000. This included a gross salary of €690,000, allowances worth €34,000, and pension contributions of €185,000. This brought the total to €910,000, but he voluntarily waived €67,000.
Last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he wanted to see "substantial and significant" pay cuts from bank executives.