Bank of Ireland is to shed staff from its private banking sector, which deals with the finances of wealthy clients.

A spokesperson confirmed that there had been a meeting at which staff were told that the existing voluntary redundancy scheme was being opened up for the 130 staff working in the private banking division.

However, she declined to confirm how many redundancies were being targeted in the division, or to state what the ultimate target number for redundancies across Bank of Ireland would be.

She said the redundancies were part of an ongoing process of downsizing at the bank, which has cut 5,000 jobs since 2008.

It currently employs 11,730 people.

The spokesperson said the redundancies would be voluntary.

She said that Bank of Ireland remained fully committed to its private banking division, and its focus was to be the "best private bank in class" to service individuals with a high net worth.