Businessman to appeal ruling on promissory notes
Businessman David Hall plans to apply today for an early hearing of his appeal of yesterday’s High Court decision on the Government’s payment of promissory notes.
The president of the High Court ruled that only a TD may bring a High Court challenge to the State’s decision to pay the promissory notes under which €31 billion, to date, has been paid in aid of Irish financial institutions.
No legal standing
Mr Hall does not have the legal standing to bring such a challenge, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns decided yesterday.
Such a challenge may yet be brought as three TDs – Independents Stephen Donnelly and Shane Ross and People Before Profit’s Joan Collins – had written to the Minister for Finance “threatening to vindicate their rights through the courts”, he noted.
Mr Hall, who brought the case as a taxpayer and concerned citizen, is no more affected by the decision to pay the notes than any other taxpayer, he said.
The “obvious importance” of the issue raised by Mr Hall could not of itself provide him with the necessary standing and it was clear there was “no want” of persons in the Dáil who could challenge the alleged failure of the Minister for Finance to seek Dáil approval for the making of the promissory notes.
Nothing in his judgment should be construed as indicating what view the court might take of the merits of the case made by Mr Hall if a challenge were brought by a member of the Dáil, he stressed.
The central ground of Mr Hall’s challenge was that the payment of the note was an “appropriation of revenue or other public money” within the meaning of article 17 of the Constitution, which provides no law shall be enacted for such appropriation unless the purpose of that appropriation shall have been recommended to the Dáil by a message from the Government signed by the Taoiseach.
Mr Hall argued the Minister for Finance was not entitled to pay the notes unless such payment was authorised by a Dáil vote. It was accepted by both sides in the case there was no such vote.
He contended impermissible mechanisms were used by the Minister whereby the Dáil was bypassed and given no opportunity to vote on the appropriation of public money for payment of the notes.
The Minister and State argued Mr Hall had no legal standing to make those claims and had also failed to bring the case promptly. They also denied the specific mandate of the Dáil was required for the making of the notes.
Deputies Donnelly, Ross, and Collins, who had supported Mr Hall’s challenge, were in court yesterday when judgment was delivered. Their solicitor Tony Williams said they would consider the judgment.