Well done to journalist Gavin Sheridan for his significant victory against the oppressive secrecy of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).
Gavin spotted a loophole in Nama’s secrecy defences by way of applying for information through a statutory instrument known as the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations.
Nama responded by claiming that it was not a public authority and so did not come under the remit of the statutory instrument. The judge in the case put paid to that particular argument.
At the core of Nama’s appeal was the claim that the words ‘and includes’ in the European regulations were to be understood as ‘may include’.
The judge rightly rejected the claim but that such ridiculous arguments can be made by Irish authorities in order to preserve the powerful weapon of secrecy is a demonstration of how warped and dangerous the thinking in such authorities has become.
Gavin, who has been fighting Nama on this issue since 2010, said that the outcome was a good day for the public’s right to access information.