Businessman starts legal action against €31bn in promissory notes
PROMISSORY notes amounting to more than €31 billion in support for Irish financial institutions were flawed and payment on them cannot now be made, it has been claimed in the High Court.
Businessman David Hall of College Grove, Castleknock, Dublin, described as an employer and “a person with significant tax payments and obligations”, is seeking to prevent the State from making payments on foot of the notes issued in favour of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) the Educational Building Society and Irish Nationwide.
In an affidavit Mr Hall – a founder member of the New Beginnings group of business people and lawyers – said he has, for some time, had “grave reservations about the manner and way the public finances of the country have been run.
The Irish people, having never been consulted about this and in circumstances where its representatives were bypassed, were being asked to honour a deal made in flagrant breach of the Constitution, he said. There was no democratic legitimacy and it was in breach of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, he claimed.
John Rogers SC, for Mr Hall, told the president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns the promissory notes were unlawful on various grounds, including that the Dáil had not specifically approved them as was required by the Constitution.
Mr Rogers said the Minister for Finance ought to have secured specific approval from the Dáil for the promissory notes.
Mr Rogers said the Government appeared to be relying on a section in the The Credit Institutions Financial Support Act, but he said that “if the section permits the Minister to make payments without a Dáil vote, then we say the section is unconstitutional”.
Mr Rogers said spending was initiated by the Government bringing a “money message” to the Dáil signed by the Taoiseach, and the Constitution provided for the Dáil to be the body that voted through the process.
He said the Constitution “can’t be set aside except by the people”.
There was, he said “no emergency let out clause in the Constitution”.
He also said that without specifically naming figures and seeking approval of Dáil Eireann for them, the Government’s procedure on the promissory notes represented “a blank cheque” which was not provided for in the Constitution.
The defence rejects the charge that the promissory notes were unlawful and is expected to present its case to Mr Justice Kearns when the hearing resumes tomorrow.