Friday 25 May 2018

State seeking costs against TD Joan Collins over her legal challenge

United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins
United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins

THE State wants the High Court to award substantial legal costs against United Left TD Joan Collins over her promissory notes legal challenge.

This is because she has decided to appeal against the rejection of her challenge which was against the Minister for Finance over his decision to issue €31bn promissory notes in favour of Anglo Irish Bank and the Educational Building Society.

Seeking the State's High Court costs against the TD yesterday, Michael McDowell SC said he accepted the issues raised by Ms Collins were important and, had she won, there would have been "huge consequences" for the State.

That did not mean it was in the public interest to have the issues determined and her decision to appeal would impose additional costs on the State, he argued.

John Rogers SC, for Ms Collins, said the case involved public law issues of "exceptional importance" concerning whether it was lawful for the Minister and Government, without Dail approval, to make "massive dispersals" of public monies.

The issues went to the core of the Constitution, there could be nothing more deserving of consideration and it did not follow for the State to argue they were of public importance but not in the public interest, he added.

Mr Rogers also said he was "troubled" by the State urging the court to consider that Ms Collins' decision to appeal was a factor to be taken into account against her.

Ms Collins had a constitutional right to appeal and the fact she had chosen to exercise that right should not be a factor against her when deciding the issue of liability for the High Court costs.

A three judge High Court, comprising Mr Justice Peter Kelly, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan and Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, said yesterday it was reserving its decision on the costs issue.

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