€5m tax settlement between Charles Haughey and the Revenue Commissioners remains secret

Irish Information Commissioner, Emily O'Reilly, has rejected an application under the Freedom of Information Act for access to Revenue files that contain 6,000 documents relating to the €5m tax settlement reached by Charles Haughey with the Revenue Commissioners two years ago.

O'Reilly has ruled that Haughey is entitled to the same degree of privacy in his dealings with the Revenue as any other taxpayer, and while there is a public interest in showing how tax officials dealt with him, it is no stronger than that which should be afforded to Revenue’s dealings with any other taxpayer. She also stated that “Disclosure of the information contained in these records would constitute a breach of an equitable duty of confidence owed by the Revenue to Haughey.”

The Sunday Times revealed details of the settlement in early March 2003, in an article written by none other than O’Reilly, the newspaper’s then Irish political correspondent. This led to the Revenue and Haughey hurriedly agreeing a statement, and announcing details a week later. The Revenue refused an application for the files, and this decision was upheld by O’Reilly last week.

Haughey’s €5m tax deal stays secret (Sunday Times, 28 August 2005)