The unanimous Supreme Court decision that the National Assets Management Agency must comply with requests for information under Environmental Information Regulations is victory for the idea of transparency in public affairs, especially where extraordinary public funds are involved.
That the victory came about because of the tenacity of journalist Gavin Sheridan rather than political efforts says more than enough, too much really, about our politicians’ real attitude to transparency.
Nama was set up in special circumstances and given special powers.
That the agency imagined it could operate behind a veil of secrecy shows how entrenched the idea of financial autonomy and secrecy are.
This ruling makes it easier to break the suspicious omerta surrounding so many of the property-based interactions between private and public sectors in this country.
There is a caveat. It is believed that Nama has, just like Hilary Clinton, purged records so public information might no longer be available.
This seems an affront to the ruling and those records must be recovered. This ruling was a victory for those who wish to see accountability underscore a culture of ethics in public life and should be celebrated.
That it shows how a determined individual can be an agent for profound change is an even greater cause for celebration.