IN THE High Court last week, the former Attorney-General John Rogers said that the finance minister had used powers under a 2008 "emergency" law to create a promissory note in 2010 which can be adjusted to allow for the payment of "possibly limitless" amounts of public money.
According to Rogers, the note issued in favour of the Educational Building Society, under which €250m was paid this year, provided for the finance minister to adjust the sum to be paid either upwards or downwards and permitted the creation of "very significant, possibly limitless" liabilities for the taxpayer.
The case has not received much attention in the media, perhaps because the action, which is being taken on behalf of United Left TD Joan Collins, is thought to be, shall we say, just another one of those cases.
According to media reports, however, the action raises "important constitutional issues with implications for the entire basis of the State's funding" – so much so that it is being heard by a three-judge court.
In essence, Rogers has argued that the making of the notes under "emergency" legislation was unlawful because it involves the minister appropriating public monies for expenditure when, under the Constitution, such "appropriation" is solely a matter for the Dail.
The hearing continues.
The possibility exists, however, that the case will eventually be heard by the Supreme Court.
In the recent referendum, people voted, by a two-to-one majority, in favour of the establishment of a Court of Appeal to alleviate a backlog at the Supreme Court: all 43 constituencies voted Yes.
The people, therefore, chose not to give Enda Kenny a "wallop" on this one as they did on his proposal to abolish the Seanad.
By wallop, he means a punch on the nose of such sting that it watered his eyes.
The punch was administered by between five to 10 per cent of the so-called Undecideds who came out to determine the result of the referendum on the future of the Seanad.
It was a wake-up call for the Taoiseach – but is it one that he will heed?
The message was this: it is not just the economy, stupid – political reform is equally important.
The body politic will read the referendum tea leaves to determine what the result also tells us, if anything, about elections to come – local, European and the big one, the General Election, in two years.
In short, the referendum outcome tells us that the big one will be a two-horse race: Fine Gael or Fianna Fail will lead the next government; Labour seems beyond rescue, Sinn Fein may have shot its bolt, and the Reform Alliance could yet emerge as a half-party to make up the numbers.
In the two-horse race, however – no more than this – Fianna Fail, coming from behind, has made up a length, which is an achievement in itself, but Fine Gael is still on the inside rail as it rounds the bend for home.
More than the important constitutional issues down in the High Court, it was another media report last week, this time from Germany, which will sound the alarm bells.
In the High Court, the State denies the claims made and argues that Joan Collins's case is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the relevant constitutional provisions.
The court has heard that, following the liquidation of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) last February, the €25bn promissory note issued to that bank was exchanged for government bonds due to mature after periods of between 25 and 40 years.
You may remember back then: the government promissory note deal was heralded as a triumph of political and diplomatic will. Michael Noonan took the bow.
Now it has emerged in German media that further EU support for Irish banks and Ireland's corporation tax regime are stumbling blocks in the coalition talks there.
The Social Democrats are reported to have "flatly rejected" proposals to allow banks in Ireland directly access money from the euro rescue fund.
The left-of-centre SDP want Angela Merkel's right-of-centre Christian Democrats to withdraw support for direct bank recapitalisation as a precondition for coalition.
Merkel's most likely partners are also said to be seeking "far-reaching commitments" from Dublin related to an increase in Ireland's 12.5 per cent corporation tax, and the abandonment of Dublin's opposition to the proposed financial transaction tax.
In other words, the country's entire economic model is under threat.
At this remove, it is difficult to say for sure whether the SDP demands are part and parcel of normal bartering, to be quietly dropped in due course, or whether something more troublesome is afoot.
A point to make, though: if the Social Democrats in Germany really believe Angela Merkel has been too soft on Ireland, that tends to indicate that the Government's strategy in Europe has, indeed, been a triumph of political and diplomatic will.
In two years' time, when we go to the polls again, the question is whether this will be enough to see Fine Gael over the line, or will Enda Kenny fall at the final fence, which is his declaration last week that the end of austerity is nigh.
The Taoiseach would also do well to remember the eye-watering sting of the Seanad referendum so ruthlessly landed by the Undecideds: it's about political reform, stupid.