Supreme Court dismisses Joan Collins' promissory notes appeal

The TD claimed issuing the IOUs to bail out Anglo Irish Bank was unconstitutional

Supreme Court dismisses Joan Collins' promissory notes appeal

Independent TD Joan Collins speaks to the media as she leaves the High Court in Dublin in 2013 | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by TD Joan Collins regarding the legality of the promissory notes.

She had argued that issuing the IOUs to bail out financial institutions was unconstitutional.

After having her case rejected in the High Court, Deputy Collins appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

Today they ruled the move by then-Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to issue promissory notes was not unconstitutional.

The €31bn promissory notes were issued to allow Anglo Irish Bank and other institutions to access emergency funding from the Central Bank.

Deputy Collins argued they should not have been issued for a number of reasons - including the lack of a Dáil vote on the issue.

The six judges unanimously ruled that such power was permissible to be given to the minister, given the economic circumstances and threat to financial institutions.

They added that a blank cheque is not in the power of the minister to issue without Dáil approval - and that it could not be seen as a template for broader ministerial powers because the circumstances were 'exceptional'.

Chief Justice Susan Denham said it illustrated how momentous choices made by the Oireachtas have consequences for the future.

Speaking after the decision, Ms Collins said that she was "disappointed but not particularly surprised" with the judgement.

"Unfortunately, I believe the political and financial concerns which were repeatedly emphasised by the State during the proceedings weighed strongly on the judges’ verdict.

"The strategy in this case was to paint a doomsday scenario to justify the government's decision to waste huge amounts of public money, particularly on Anglo-Irish Bank, without even bringing the issue to the Dáil for a vote."

She said her opinion of the nature of the debt accrued through the promissory notes deal was "unchanged".

"This is an odious debt. Our government made a decision that benefitted a handful of well-connected Irish bankers as well as French and German financial institutions which are insulated from the costs of their recklessness by a European framework demanding full repayment of bondholders.", she said.

"The interests of Irish citizens were never a consideration."