A Limerick-born priest has been appointed by the Catholic Church to investigate after a former Argentine official was caught trying to stash millions of dollars in a convent.

Fr Tom O'Donnell, originally from Templeglantine in west Limerick, said there was a relationship between former secretary of public works Jose Lopez and his secretaries and the founder of the congregation.

Mr Lopez was arrested after he was seen throwing bags containing around $9 million over the walls of the Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima convent in a Buenos Aires suburb.

Coverage of the scandal has saturated the media in Argentina, throwing the country's political opposition into disarray and buying time for the new president to apply difficult austerity measures.

Mauricio Macri took office in December promising to revive the country’s economy after years of free-spending populism under his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez.

Food and home heating costs have skyrocketed since Mr Macri devalued the currency and reduced energy subsidies.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets this week, banging pots and pans in the first "cacerolazo" against his policies.

But Ms Fernandez, a sworn Macri enemy who could run against him in 2019, has been unable to capitalise on the discontent.

She was embarrassed last month when Mr Lopez was arrested.

Mr Lopez started hurling the cash over the convent walls in the early hours of the morning of 14 June when the elderly nuns inside were slow to answer the door.

Prosecutors are investigating long-standing links between Fernandez administration officials and the convent.

Mr Lopez has been charged with money laundering and for bringing an unlicensed automatic rifle to the convent.

A convent security tape was released this month showing a nun finally opening the door for Mr Lopez and accepting bags from him.

Ms Fernandez says any accusations of corruption against her are politically motivated and that she knew nothing about wrongdoing by Mr Lopez.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Fr O’Donnell said the nuns thought the bags may contain food items.

He said a neighbour reported that a man was throwing bags over the convent wall and when police later questioned Mr Lopez he initially claimed he was a priest.

Fr O'Donnell said his role is to investigate whether the nuns committed any crime and the story has gripped Argentina with people wondering whether the nuns knew what was really happening.