The Central Bank has confirmed that some of its management have received ‘retention payments’ worth, on average, 21% of their salary.

The authority said it began making the payment to a select number of staff last year, in order to address the challenges it faces in attracting and retaining staff.

It said that the payment was currently being made to fewer than 30 people, the majority of whom were amongst its junior management staff.

The Central Bank said that the scheme would cost more than €500,000 if all payments are made.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Colm Quinlan, regional officer at the Unite union, said at least 29 people had received the payment, which was not performance-related.

He said it was not clear whether or not the payments have been approved by the Department of Public Expenditure.

Mr Quinlan said he wants information on how these payments came about, when the vast majority of staff have been subject to 20% pay cuts.

In a statement confirming the payment scheme, the Central Bank said it had met the union in May to brief them on the matter and had given them updated figures on it since then.

It said the payments were made "in accordance with strict governance and to specified criteria" and were compliant with Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation, which capped the amount that could be paid to public and civil servants.