NAMA’s sale of 20 Grosvenor Square

I recently sought from the Department of Finance:

All correspondence sent to the Department of Finance / Michael Noonan in relation to the sale of 20 Grosvenor Square in London by NAMA. This should include, but not be limited to, direct correspondence and correspondence that the Minister was cc’d on. It should also include correspondence received from all bidders for this building including any correspondence from Jane Tripipatkul or her representatives in relation to how this building was sold by NAMA. It should also include any follow up correspondence between the Department and NAMA on this matter or correspondence between the Department and any bidder for this building

The following documents were released, and a story was published in the Sunday Business Post on September 27 in relation to it.

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Fennelly Report (OCR, smaller size)

Here is the Fennelly Report in a searchable PDF and weighing in at just 13Mb. (Your public servants decided it was wise to place a 90MB scanned image PDF of the report on two websites, making the report largely unavailable and unsearchable)

Click here to download immediately.

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NAMA chief executive diary 2014

Part of an ongoing process. This is the appointments diary of NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh for 2014.

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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Diary 2012

Part of an ongoing process. This is a consolidated version of the Ministerial diary published on the DPER website for 2012:

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Minister for Agriculture Diary 2014

Part of an ongoing process. This is the appointments diary for the Agriculture and Defence Minister Simon Coveney.

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Irish Water board minutes (after Information Commissioner appeal)

These are Irish Water board minutes released following an appeal to the Information Commissioner. We previously published the heavily redacted version of the minutes back in February. They contain parts previously redacted, citing commercial sensitivities.

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NAMA advisory group minutes March 2012

This is a selection of documents released by the Department of Finance under FOI. They consist of NAMA AG minutes from March 2012, and a NAMA internal document on its strategic plan. One of the lines from the minutes stood out for me:

Is this a plan to constrain housing supply to increase land/asset values in favour of NAMA?

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Rich Ricci letter to Michael Noonan

This document contains communications between then Barclays banker Rich Ricci and Finance Minister Michael Noonan in 2011/2012.

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The “Tap and Swap” plan for IBRC

Documents outlining a plan to resolve IBRC from 2012.

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NAMA vs OCEI Supreme Court judgment

Here is a copy of the judgment in NAMA vs Commissioner for Environmental Information, given this morning.

Our statement:

“We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court today finding that NAMA is a public authority subject to the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007/2011. We are thankful that the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information agreed with our interpretation of the law when it made its initial decision in 2011, and subsequently defended that decision through the courts.

We regret that NAMA did not handle the issue better at the outset -as the ruling itself noted – and that it has taken nearly 2,000 days for what was a preliminary matter to be decided, involving significant expenditure of public money. However the public now has greater clarity on the applicability of the Regulations, and the public’s right to know has been broadly vindicated by the Supreme Court. We look forward to NAMA fully implementing its obligations under the AIE Regulations 2007/2011.”

The key paragraph:

If the law stood as it was at the time of the High Court’s decision I would have considered it necessary to refer a question to the ECJ as to whether a body such as NAMA was a public body for the purpose of the exercised public administrative functions. The definition section of the Directive is unclear, and it is also necessary to consider the Aarhus Convention. However the decision in Fish Legal provides an authoritative interpretation of the Directive, and moreover does so in the context of a common law system. Applying that test it is clear that NAMA is indeed a public authority exercising public administrative functions. Although like the water companies in Fish Legal, it is obliged to act commercially, it is undoubtedly vested with special powers well beyond those which result from the normal rules applicable in relation between persons governed by private law. If anything, the case is clearer here. The water companies in Fish Legal were companies established in private law whereas NAMA is established pursuant to a statute which confers upon it substantial powers of compulsory acquisition, of enforcement, to apply to the High Court to appoint a receiver and to set aside dispositions. The Act also restricts or excludes certain remedies against NAMA. The establishment and operation of NAMA is a significant part of the executive and legislative response to an unprecedented financial crisis. The scope and scale of the body created is exceptional. Indeed if it were not so it would not be in a position to carry out the important public functions assigned to it in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Accordingly, for the reasons set out above, I would dismiss the appeal.

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