Bank of Ireland's chief executive received a once-off €1.5m top-up to his pension last year. This comes on top of an annual salary of €623,000 which is being paid to Richie Boucher.

The bank says there had been a shortfall in Mr Boucher's pension fund and it was obliged to top it up with the payment. The shortfall arose because he assumed a new role as chief executive last year.

Mr Boucher has an option to retire at the age of 55 on a pension of €367,570 a year. The payment was made to the Bank Staff Pension Fund and disclosed in the company's annual report today.

The salary for the position of chief executive of Bank of Ireland was capped at €500,000 by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan last year. But Bank of Ireland has paid an additional €123,000 to Mr Boucher which it describes as a pension cash allowance.

IL&P interest in Bank of Ireland assets?

Irish Life and Permanent is interested in buying parts of Bank of Ireland which were put on the market earlier today, RTÉ News has learned.

Bank of Ireland said this morning that it was looking to sell parts of its business ahead of a €3 billion rights issue which the markets believe is now just weeks away. Among the businesses the bank is selling are ICS Building Society, New Ireland Assurance and Bank of Ireland Asset Management.

The carve up of the Irish financial landscape has begun a new phase and in order to satisfy EU rules on the receipt of state support, Bank of Ireland must pare back its business.

These rules apply to the all euro zone banks in receipt of bail-outs to avoid issues around unfair competition arising from the massive state injections they have received.

Bank of Ireland is selling a variety of businesses and will cease being a producer of life and pensions products with the sale of New Ireland, the number two company in the market.

Once sold, Bank of Ireland will use its branch network to sell products provided by other companies such as Irish Life and Permanent, which RTE understands is keen to buy New Ireland.

No values have been ascribed to the businesses and the bank has set itself a deadline of December 2014 to complete the sell offs.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland is close to announcing a multi-billion euro rights issue to raise fresh capital from shareholders and shore up a further €2.7 billion hole in its balance sheet in an effort to stave off further Government dominance of the bank.

Bank of Ireland also said this morning that it will agree to sell its US foreign exchange business and its stakes in asset management business Paul Capital, as well as the Irish Credit Bureau.

It said that the moves are not expected to have any 'detrimental' effect on the long term interests of the bank.

For the nine months to the end of December, Bank of Ireland estimates that the businesses to be sold off generated total underlying income of about €200m, underlying operating profit of about €90m and contributed about €40m of underlying profit before tax to the bank.

1,000 staff in divisions to be sold off

Meanwhile, the UNITE trade union has reacted to this morning's announcement by saying it will work with any new owner to maintain the maximum number of sustainable jobs within the troubled financial sector.

UNITE represents 750 of the 1000 workers at Bank of Ireland Life, New Ireland Assurance and the ICS Building Society.

As previously announced last year, Bank of Ireland also said it is winding down its UK intermediary broker business. It estimates that the loan portfolios to be wound down generated total income of about €180m, generating underling profit of about €145m and contributed about €60m of underlying profit before tax.

The bank said it would attempt to accelerate the wind-down of these portfolios by way of sale, but would not be obliged to sell at less than book value.

Other commitments include the non-payment of dividends until September 2012 or until 2009 preference shares are no longer owned by the state and a promise not to make 'any material acquisitions'.

The bank says it expects the decision regarding the approval of the proposed measures by the middle of the year.

It said it believes the final EU Restructuring plan is sufficient to get approval from the European Commission for all state aid it has received including participation in NAMA and the €3.5 billion investment from the National Pension Reserve Fund.

Shares in Bank of Ireland closed down 0.6% at €1.71 in Dublin.