Bank documents missing ahead of inquiry, says Sinn Féin

Material relates to communication between Bank of Ireland governor and a tax adviser

Sinn Féin has said “key” documents relating to the bank guarantee have gone missing from the

Department of Finance

in the build-up to a banking inquiry.

Party finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD said he became aware of the absence of the records following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The material in question relates to two letters from 2009 between the Bank of Ireland governor and a named tax adviser which had been copied to late minister for finance Brian Lenihan.

Their exact significance was not clear last night.

However Mr Doherty said: “These are some of the only documents between the governor of the Bank of Ireland and the minister for finance during a period when the government decided to pump €3.5 billion of taxpayers’ money into that bank.

“I have now been informed that these letters have gone missing from the Department of Finance.”

Mr Doherty also said the development lent further weight to previous comments made in the Dáil by Taoiseach Enda Kenny with regard to documents having gone missing. “He said they have either been shredded disposed or dispatched of,” Mr Doherty said.

"This new revelation compounds that criticism. Once again, key documents in relation to the bank guarantee cannot be found after Fianna Fáil have left office.

'Sensitive documents'
"The only reason we know that these documents are missing is because two separate FoIs were made on the same document over a four-year period. The question has to be asked about what other sensitive documents have gone missing. The reality is that we may never know. If the upcoming banking inquiry is to be successful, it is important that all relevant documents are found or returned."

In a statement to RTÉ last night, the Department of Finance said it had conducted a widespread search for the documents and it was not clear why they could not be located.