Key documents have disappeared ahead of an upcoming inquiry into the collapse of the Irish banking system, it has emerged.
The missing documents are a letter from 2009 from the Bank of Ireland Governor to a tax advisor linked to then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (and copied to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan). A second, return letter has also disappeared.
The news was received by Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty on foot of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
The letters are known to have existed in 2009 because they were released, although completely redacted, to a journalist under the Freedom of Information legislation.
“I have now been informed that these letters have gone missing from the Department of Finance,” Mr Doherty said.
Few records exists of the communications between the Governor of the Bank of Ireland and the Minister for Finance during the controversial period when the government moved to act as guarantor for bonds written by the Bank of Ireland and other Irish banks.
There are growing fears that an attempt is being made to cover up inappropriate links between Irish politicians and the banking sector ahead of the financial collapse in 2008.
Last year the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, told the Dublin parliament that many documents relating to the financial collapse have already been shredded or binned.
“The question has to be asked about what other sensitive documents have gone missing. The reality is that we may never know,” Mr Doherty said.
And here were signs of a potentially similar scandal, albeit on a smaller scale, in Ireland’s new Water Board. Set up to raise taxes from the public to pay for the collapsed banking system, the state-run organisation has already managed to dispense fifty million euro in backroom deals with consultancy firms and another fifty million on six-figure salaries for political insiders.
“Irish Water continues to waste good money after bad,” said Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley.
“It has received 500 million euro from the Pension Reserve Fund to install water meters, this was followed by over 200 million euro in the recent budget only to be followed by a further allocation from the local government fund.
“This is all before one drop of water reaches our taps.”