[Editor’s Note: This is the second entry in our symposium on the “The Euro-Crisis Ten Years Later: A Constitutional Appraisal.” The introduction to the symposium is available here and Part I is available here.]
–Ailbhe O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin
Collins v. Minister for Finance  IESC 73 required the Irish Supreme Court to explore for the first time since the founding of the State the role of the parliament in approving spending under Bunreacht na hÉireann. The case raised fundamental questions about the balance of power between institutions envisaged under the Constitution and the degree of discretion that can be validly delegated to and exercised by the executive in respect of expenditure.
The financial crisis in Ireland was precipitated by a property bubble and subsequent bursting of that bubble which left a number of systemically important banks insolvent. (For background, see Honohan, The Irish Banking Crisis Regulatory and Financial Stability Policy 2003-2008, 2010 Nyberg, Misjudging Risk: Causes of the Systemic Banking Crisis in Ireland).
In 2010, it became clear that there were significant capital shortfalls and that Anglo Irish Bank Corporation (“Anglo”) was unable to access liquidity funds from the Central Bank of Ireland’s emergency liquidity fund due to this insolvency. These shortfalls in Anglo’s funds had arisen as its assets (i.e. its property-backed loans) were transferred to the National Asset Management Agency, an entity established by the National Asset Management Agency Act 2008 with the express purpose of taking on such loans in an effort to work out the debt. Bearing in mind that the government had given a State guarantee of all debts of Irish banks pursuant to the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 (“the Act”) in 2008, it was imperative that this situation be stabilised.Read the rest of this entry…