The Department of Finance has responded to Opposition calls for a reduction in the salary of Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher.
The bank's annual report published yesterday shows that he was paid a salary of €623,000, some €123,000 excess of the Government's salary cap for bankers.
The Department said the salary was approved by the last Government.
Inclusive of benefits Mr Boucher pocketed a total of €831,000 in 2011.
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the salary is outrageous.
"We've huge unemployment, the economy is on its knees - and above all, senior bankers should not be getting big runaway salaries like that.
"The Government, when they make a commitment to impose a pay cap, have to honour it."
But last night the Department of Finance said that Minister Michael Noonan had not been required to approve Mr Boucher's salary since it had already been agreed with the last Government back in 2009.
It also points out that the State is a minority shareholder in the Bank of Ireland, with a 15% stake.