THE first bank loan sought by Ireland’s Provisional Government 100 years ago was recalled at the AIB HQ in Dublin last week.
As the then Minister for Finance, Michael Collins wrote a letter to the then Munster & Leinster Bank (which later became AIB) on January 27th 1922.
He was seeking temporary funding of £20,000 (approximately €1.3m in today’s money) for the newly-formed provisional government at the time.
The letter by Collins is part of a series of communications between the provisional government and the Munster & Leinster Bank, that is held in AIB’s head office on Molesworth Street in Dublin.
In the letter to the bank, Michael Collins said he was directed by his government to ask them for a credit of £20,000 for the ‘Provisional Government of Ireland’.
He asked that the amount be placed to the credit of Diarmuid Ó hEigceartuigh and Gearailt MagCanainn, both using the address of City Hall in Dublin.
In the letter transcripts, the manager said that Michael Collins and Alderman Cosgrave called that evening asking for a temporary advance of £20,000, pending ‘the passing of ways and means’ and the subsequent obtainment of Revenue.
He said he informed Mr Collins that his government were at liberty to draw the amount ‘with pleasure’ and the bank thanked him for bringing them the business.
The manager also noted that Michael Collins had mentioned that this was the first application made to any bank of behalf of the newly formed government, following the signing of the Treaty weeks earlier.
Just seven months later Michael Collins was assassinated while travelling through Béal na Bláth on August 22nd.