The Department of Finance is carrying out an 'intensive investigation' into bonus payments made to Bank of Ireland staff since the introduction of the bank guarantee scheme.

The news follows questions put to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan by Labour Deputy Leader and finance spokesperson Joan Burton.

Last December in a parliamentary question regarding bank bonus payments, it was claimed no money was paid out to staff by Bank of Ireland.

Last week in a written response, Minister Lenihan said 'the information given to my department by Bank of Ireland to the effect that no performance related bonuses were paid to staff was incorrect, as it did not take into account 'contractual bonuses' which were performance related.

The minister said the bank had apologised for this, adding; 'I have been undertaking, as a matter of urgency, an intensive investigation of the additional payments made by Bank of Ireland since the introduction of the guarentee scheme and of additional payments which it may have intended making in the future.'

Mr Lenihan said once completed, the investigation's results would be made available to the Dáil.

Ms Burton has said that the revelation was; 'deeply disturbing' claiming 'the failure of Bank of Ireland to come clean on bonuses is just one further act of deceit.'

'Those responsible for deception must be held to account and the directors still in place since the time of the bank guarantee must be removed.'