Request to access IBRC liquidation records refused

‘Irish Times’ sought reports to Minister on termination of IBRC

The Information Commissioner has refused a Freedom of Information appeal by The Irish Times for official records on the liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the former Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Information Commissioner has refused a Freedom of Information appeal by The Irish Times for official records on the liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the former Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Alan Betson

 
The Irish Times Irish Bank Resolution CorporationAnglo Irish Bank

The commissioner, Peter Tyndall, said in a nine-page ruling that he would expect the Department of Finance “to consider making further information available once the liquidation process is complete”.

Mr Tyndall was issuing a decision on an appeal by The Irish Times on the department’s refusal to grant access to reports to the Minister for Finance from the special liquidators, and other data on the termination of IBRC’s business. This followed the refusal of an appeal to the department itself.

The Freedom of Information request, issued in November 2013, centred on 1,400 pages of documents arising from the liquidation.

Monthly reports

The Irish Times had narrowed the scope of the original request in the course of the appeal to Mr Tyndall’s office.

However, the commissioner ruled that granting the request “in full or in part” while the liquidation is ongoing “could reasonably be expected to have a serious adverse effect” on the Government’s capacity to manage the economy.

Confidentiality

The commissioner referred to correspondence from the liquidators, in which they said such a disclosure would negatively impact on their ability to provide open and meaningful reports to the department.

In submissions to the commissioner’s office, the paper noted an implicit case had been made for absolute confidentiality in all material aspects of the liquidators’ work other than in respect of the limited data which they had themselves released into the public domain and which the department had released.

Saying the maximum possible transparency was required, The Irish Times also noted the requirement for emergency sittings of the Dáil and Seanad to enact legislation to execute the liquidation.