This morning we attended the High Court after being invited by Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh to make a submission to the court in relation to NAMA seeking a stay on his judgment pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. This is the submission I read to the Court. Brian Murray SC, for NAMA, made a number of points about why NAMA had not behaved tactically, and was simply seeking to exercise its right to appeal. They also appeared concerned that if a stay was not granted, they would be subject to a flood of requests for information.
At the end, Judge Mac Eochaidh asked if I wish to respond – and I did on one specific point first – that the Regulations require a public authority to assist a requester and NAMA had not done so (having made an earlier point RE the process of reviewing and releasing information), and an additional final point – that NAMA will be subject to information requests, come what may, given that they will be subject to Freedom of Information Act according to the draft amendment published in 2012.
Overall the point we were making, and which Mr Murray did not address, is that the State has obligations under international treaties, under the Convention, under European law and under Irish law that citizens have timely processes in judicial and access to information procedures. These obligations are not voluntary – that’s why they’re called obligations. The rights of all Irish citizens are being infringed when processes such as this take this long.
Submission read in Court on April 17: