Meath County Council takes legal action for return of €4.3m

The funds have been frozen in Hong Kong after the council was the target of a "sophisticated" cyber attack

Meath County Council takes legal action for return of €4.3m

File image: Dominic Lipinski PA Wire/PA Images

Meath County Council has confirmed it has taken legal proceedings to secure the return of €4.3 million euro in funds, which have been frozen in a bank in Hong Kong after a cyber attack.

A Garda and Interpol investigation is also underway through the Financial Intelligence Unit.

The council has obtained a court order to freeze the funds and is applying for a further order to have the money returned - however it remains unclear how long the process may take.

Concerns are being raised about whether public services in the county will be affected as a result of the incident.

Local authorities across the country are being urged to examine their internal cyber security procedures following on from the attack.

Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East, Thomas Byrne, said the attack has identified a weakness in our systems which must be addressed. 

“If a cyber theft of €4.3m can happen at Meath County Council it can happen to anybody,” he said.

“The lesson is, for all of us at whatever level - citizens to public bodies to private bodies - that we be as careful as possible with our passwords and security codes and try to be as vigilant as possible for all the various scams that are going on around the place.”

The Irish bank involved is understood to be Bank of Ireland, however the bank is making no comment at this time.