‘Can you say whether your bank has an account in the name of a man called Michael Collins?’ – Alan Bell, official bank inquiry. In 1919, the revolutionary Irish government launches an audacious plan to crowdfund the equivalent of €30,000,000 to fund a counter-state in open defiance of British rule in Ireland. Half the funds are to be raised in Ireland and half in America. This start-up government is determined not only to replace the British administration in Ireland but also to implement its own industrial and financial policies, including establishing a national bank.
But the funding campaign in America is delayed owing to regulatory obstacles. It is imperative that the domestic funding campaign succeeds. Without funds, the counter-state government is doomed to failure. A financial ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’ is established; couriers secretly begin distributing three million promotional leaflets throughout the country and carrying subscriptions to Dublin; Head Office staff ensure that receipts are issued, loan registers updated and coded financial accounts maintained. The money is laundered into bank accounts and converted into gold using a ‘gold exchange network’.
An uncompromising former detective, now a near-retired magistrate, is summoned to Dublin to go after the money. This is the untold history of the fight for the revolutionary government’s funds, the bank inquiry that shook the financial establishment and the first battle in the intelligence war.
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Date of Publication: 04/09/2020