ECJ ruling on company ownership data

A right to know has been undermined

Sir, – Colm Keena is right when he states, “it has long been broadly accepted that in return for the benefits of incorporation and limited liability, certain basic financial and ownership information should be publicly available” (“We need to know who are the real owners of Irish companies”, Opinion & Analysis, December 1st).

Following the recent European Court of Justice ruling on this matter, it now seems that apart from those in law enforcement, it will be be very difficult if not impossible for the public and those in the press and news media to ascertain who are the beneficial owners of limited companies in private ownership (Barry O’Halloran, “ECJ ruling on company ownership branded a ‘setback’ in fight against crime”, Business, November 26th).

Taking this to a logical albeit extreme conclusion every person over the age of 18 could easily set up a private company with limited liability and nobody would have a clue who is behind it and to what purposes it was set up.

It would seem to this writer that this privilege will especially suit those individuals and parties who have something to hide and have the means and wherewithal to prevent the summary disclosure of relevant information that is in the public interest.


The ECJ in its ruling has opened a Pandora’s box here that may have far-reaching and possibly unintended consequences that we all should be very concerned about. – Is mise,



Co Kerry.