Sophisticated cyber attack on Meath County Council targeted €4.3m

In a statement, the council said the attack was detected before the transaction was completed and the funds have now been secured.

Meath County Council has revealed it was the target of a “sophisticated” cyber attack targeting more than €4m.

In a statement, the council said the attempt to steal €4.3m was detected before the transaction was completed and the funds have now been secured.

The statement confirmed the “serious, attempted cyber enabled offence” had involved identity theft and has been reported to the gardaí.

The matter is now the subject of a criminal investigation in Ireland and abroad through the Financial Intelligence Unit in the National Economic Crime Bureau and Interpol.

Sinn Féin Councillor Darren O'Rourke said the council has had a lucky escape:

“The sum of money involved is over €4.3m and that really is staggering,” he said. “I think first and foremost it is a huge relief to the council and indeed to everyone associated with the council; everyone that works with the council and to all the service users and the community of County Meath, that this issue was caught before it was too late,” he said.

“The council’s checks and balances kicked in and served them very well on this occasion. Everyone should be very grateful for that.”

Cllr. O’Rourke said it is “of utmost importance” that every effort is now made to secure a successful prosecution against those involved.

"Equally important, in the time ahead, is that the council in Meath and councils right across the country receive all the necessary support to ensure such an attack is avoided in the future,” he said. “This may very well require additional central government funding.”

Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East Thomas Byrne said he will be, “seeking assurances that cyber security procedures within Meath County Council are at their highest possible level.”

“I am glad this attempted theft appears to have been successfully stopped,” he said. “It is a disgraceful act and I hope the perpetrators are identified and brought before the courts to account for their actions.

“I will also be looking for assurances that vital public services are not at risk, either temporarily or permanently, as a result of this attempted theft.”

Deputy Byrne called on other local authorities around the country to, "examine their own internal cyber security procedures to ensure they do not fall victim to a similar attack.”