There was an interesting letter in today’s IT regarding the constitutionality, or otherwise, of NAMA. (Here is the URL but it may not be valid for long).
The writer pointed to Article 45.2 (iv), Directive Principles of Social Policy, in the Constitution. Now, I am not a lawyer and I don’t exactly have a well-thumbed copy of Bunreacht na hÉireann lying around the house, but could NAMA be unconstitutional? The article in question states:
“That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole.”
There are two points about credit. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has said NAMA is needed to make credit available again to businesses. But he was told by no less a source than the IMF, before NAMA was even implemented, that it would do no such thing.
Unfortunately, in Ireland, we don’t have any independent organisations to monitor the government. The last one, the Centre for Public Inquity (CPI), was shut down by former Justice Minsiter and PD, Michael McDowell, during a moral panic about Republicans. Today’s panic, by the way, appears to be head shops. So, unlike the States, for example, we have no well-funded think-tanks to test some of these laws in court. But doesn’t that suit FF and the Greens now that the CPI or its ilk are not around to ask awkward questions or follow the flows of money?