John Walsh: State should sever ties with AIB and PTSB for their sake as well as ours

The costs and consequences could be significant if the state remains a major shareholder in the traditional banks as they try to compete in a digital market while hampered by pay restraints

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe rued the missed opportunity of selling more shares in AIB while market conditions remained favourable in the couple of years after the initial flotation. Picture: Bloomberg

The government should offload its shares in AIB and Permanent TSB as soon as possible. Realistically that is not going to happen, and there are compelling political reasons why a divestment is not possible. But in the real world, away from the Leinster House bubble, there is mounting evidence that the state will need to exit the sector if AIB and PTSB are to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Bank of Ireland received ...