A local authority forked out €2,650 for a new replacement silver chain of office only for the old missing chain to be rediscovered in a suitcase.
The saga began when former deputy mayor Councillor Joe Malone reported the loss of his official chain to Kilkenny County Council last year.
Arrangements were made for an insurance claim to council insurer IPB and for Mr Malone to pay €50-a-fortnight from his allowance for the missing chain.
However, the councillor subsequently discovered the chain in a suitcase at home but not before the local authority had already bought a new one.
Documents released under FOI show how Kilkenny County Council had commissioned award-winning local gold and silversmith Liam Costigan to craft the new one.
They agreed to pay €2,650 for it while details were being sought on the price of the missing chain for making a claim against insurance.
In a report explaining the loss, Cllr Malone wrote: “The last time I believe I had the above chain was before 23 November 2018. That night, I attended Kilkenny on Ice in Cillín Hill [and] I did not have chain with me.
“At that stage I noticed it was missing. I searched my van and house on numerous occasions to no avail. I thought it would turn up. I mentioned it to Corporate Affairs around February/March 2019 that the chain was missing.
“I have looked around for it on numerous occasions since. I cannot recall the last occasion that I had the chain and at this stage can only assume I mislaid it.”
Internal emails describe how the council’s insurers were looking for details on how long it was missing, where it was kept, and a picture of the missing item.
Details of the loss were sent to the insurer but the claim still had not been finalised in January of this year, according to the records.
A subsequent email sent to the insurance firm IPB on January 9 said: “Please find attached the completed general claim form along with an invoice for the replacement of the deputy mayor’s chain for your information.”
A day later, Kilkenny County Council said a decision needed to be made on how much should be deducted from Cllr Malone’s allowance to cover the cost.
It was subsequently agreed he would pay back €50 every fortnight until the €2,650 “cost of the replacement chain of office” had been repaid in full.
However, in mid-February officials were told not to commence the repayment programme as the chain had been rediscovered. “Do not proceed with deduction, chain has been found,” said an official in a handwritten note.
Mr Malone confirmed it had been discovered in a suitcase in his home. He said: “I was more than happy to pay it off, no problem at all. I had lost it genuinely but found it again.
“They did buy a new chain – that has gone to the Leas Cathaoirleach of the council. They needed one for that officeholder as well.”