The country is on the verge of bankruptcy, another major bank is being effectively nationalised and the same politicians who presided over the economic disaster still don’t want the people to know what is actually happening. Lawyers for the Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan have successfully sought to exclude the media from a hearing of a court application to inject further cash into AIB. The Sunday Independent reports:
On Thursday, the day before Christmas Eve, Mr Lenihan used the extraordinary new powers of a Minister for Finance, just signed into law, to apply to the court to inject a further €3.7bn into the bank, thereby effectively nationalising it without the approval of its shareholders.
Citing “extreme commercial sensitivity”, the minister moved to have the application, which related to matters not already aired in public, to be heard in camera, or in a closed and private session of the High Court.
It is yet another unprecedented development in a still deepening banking crisis — but this time it also raises a question as to whether sections of the legislation, relied upon by Mr Lenihan to exclude the media, may be anti-democratic.
It now seems certain that the sections concerned — Articles 59 and 60 of the Credit Institution (Stabilisation) Act 2010 — will be challenged by media outlets in the New Year.
The reaction of those holding Irish Government bonds has been severe. The rate has risen considerably after an initial decline when agreement was reached on a bail out agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.