Joan Collins seeks hearing to prevent promissory payment

Counsel for TD anxious for quick hearing ahead of €25m June deadline

TD Joan Collins is seeking an urgent hearing of her High Court action aimed at preventing the planned payment next month by the Government of a further €25m in promissory notes. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

TD Joan Collins is seeking an urgent hearing of her High Court action aimed at preventing the planned payment next month by the Government of a further €25m in promissory notes. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

 

United Left TD Joan Collins is seeking an urgent hearing of her High Court action aimed at preventing the planned payment next month by the Government of a further €25m in promissory notes.

The payment is due on June 17th and, when the case was mentioned today, Ross Maguire SC, for Ms Collins, who was in court, said they were anxious it would be heard quickly.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, noted the timescale was tight for the hearing and determining of the action before June 17th but listed the matter for mention again next Thursday, June 6th, by which date the Minister for Finance and the State are to have filed their defence.

A hearing date will then be sought by Ms Collins but the State defendants have disputed her claims of urgency.

Ms Collins, who represents Dublin South Central, claims the €25m promissory note payment, proposed as part of the €31 billion recapitalisation announced by the Minister for Finance in 2010 of the former Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide and the Educational Building Society, is unlawful and unconstitutional.

She claims the promissory note payments are a profound attack on the democratic nature of the State because they amount to an appropriation of public monies which was not authorised, as required by the Constitution, by a vote of Dáil Éireann.

She also claims securities issued under Section 17 of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Act 2013 to replace the promissory note issued in favour of IBRC following the special liquidation of that bank earlier this year are unlawful on the same basis.

Section 17 allows the Minister offer securities in exchange for the redemption, release or cancellation of promissory notes and Ms Collins is seeking a permanent injunction restraining the payment of any sums due on foot of such securities.

She claims Section 17 constitutes an unlawful delegation or transfer of constitutional powers from the Dáil to the Minister for Finance.

She is also seeking several declarations, including that Section 6 of the Credit Institutional Financial Support Act 2008 is unlawful. Section 6 states the Minister for Finance may provide financial support in respect of the borrowings, liabilities and obligations of any credit institution.

With a number of other TDs, Ms Collins previously unsuccessfully sought to be joined to the Supreme Court appeal by businessman David Hall to a High Court decision he did not have the required legal standing to challenge the promissory notes.

Mr Justice Kearns, who made that ruling in Mr Hall’s case, indicated yesterday he believed another judge should deal with Ms Collins’ case.

Ms Collins initiated her own challenge after it emerged the Supreme Court was unlikely to hear Mr Hall’s appeal before the June 17th payment.