Bank of Ireland paid bonuses to staff totalling almost €66.4m from September 2008 to the end of 2010, an investigation ordered by the Department of Finance has found.

The report referred to 'a catalogue of errors' committed by the bank on the issue.

The payments comprised €43m in bonuses and commission payments of €23m.

The report found that members of the bank's senior executive team were paid previously agreed bonuses amounting to €4.3m in 2009 and 2010.

The report was produced after Bank of Ireland provided incorrect information to the department in response to a Dáil question.

The bank's response implied that no performance-related bonuses were being paid to its senior staff.

The report found that the original information provided by the bank 'was presented in a manner which minimised the level of additional payments made'.

Bank of Ireland has accepted that it provided incorrect information, but maintains that it had no intention to mislead.

The report said it appeared that the bonus payments were made under pre-existing contracts, and as a result were in accordance with the agreements under which the State injected capital into Bank of Ireland.

The bank has also said that payments of around €11m may have to be paid in 2011. The bank has also budgeted for €10m to be paid in commissions this year.

The bank has apologised to the Minister for Finance, and his officials, for the quality of the information supplied for response to Dáil questions on bonus payments.

It also apologised for the 'considerable delay' in providing information to the Department of Finance as it conducted its inquiry into the issue. The bank also said there was no intention to mislead.

Bank of Ireland said, however, that it had reservations about some of the assertions in the report.

The bank said there was a misunderstanding about the term 'performance bonuses', which the bank said it used to refer to bonus payments over which it had discretion. It said it had halted such discretionary bonus payments.

The bank said its pay policies would be designed to ensure that it conforms to all ongoing regulatory requirements, recognises the support the bank has received from taxpayers and specifically protects the interests of all stakeholders.