Health Tapes

‘As big a sin as it gets’: New leaked tapes show officials in the dark over HSE’s Covid-19 spending

Recordings of meetings held as the pandemic was taking hold in the summer of 2020 show the tensions and dysfunction at the heart of the health system as the HSE failed to answer basic questions about its use of public money

The Department of Health’s headquarters on Baggot Street in Dublin: officials at internal meetings described the HSE as being ‘blasé’ about its adherence to public spending rules. Picture: Fergal Phillips

In the summer of 2020, as Ireland was in the grip of the first wave of Covid-19, the officials tasked with overseeing the extraordinary spending of public money realised they had little insight into where it was going.

The matter first came to a head when a freelance journalist was given documents through Freedom of Information, which appeared to show that the HSE had committed to spending €773 million on personal protective equipment (PPE) by ...