Central Bank: Filling vacancies is the biggest challenge facing the operation of the bank

Concerns about the high-levels of availible roles at the bank have been raised in the Dail

It was revealed yesterday that there are a total of 149 vacancies at the Central Bank - and 94 of the unfilled roles are in financial regulation.

The numbers were issued to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in a parliamentary reply.

In a statement issued to Newstalk, the Central Bank commented, "By the end of this year the Central Bank will have increased staff numbers by approximately 115 (on a net basis) in what we have previously acknowledged is a challenging market place."

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It notes that the bank said in its 2016-2018 Strategic Plan - "Attracting and retaining the right people with the right skills and experience will be the most significant challenge facing the operation of the bank, particularly in the light of a growing domestic economy where there will be increasing competition for appropriately skilled resources."

The Central Bank adds that it intends to have a "net increase of 170 staff" in 2017.

"The data, revealed in this reply, raises a number of important questions about the ability of the Central Bank to effectively regulate existing financial service providers in Ireland and to properly fulfill its consumer protection role," the Fianna Fáil politician Michael McGrath said in a statement yesterday.

"In addition, the numbers of vacancies in key functional areas across the Central Bank calls into question the capacity of our regulatory system to accommodate financial service firms that may relocate to Ireland from the UK as a result of Brexit," he continued.

Michael Noonan said the bank is "actively recruiting at present, with well over 100 roles advertised."

Reuters reported last month that officials at the Central Bank will be unlikely to give approval to global investment banks as they could pose an economic threat and it does not have the resources and expertise to regulate some forms of potentially dangerous trading.

According to the news agency, Ireland will be "reluctant" to welcome large-scale investment banking firms who are looking for a new European base.