BUSINESSMAN Oliver Barry has brought a High Court case aimed at recovering €610,000 in legal costs incurred by him arising from his involvement with the planning tribunal.
Mr Barry, a former head of Century Radio, is challenging the Flood/Mahon tribunal's refusal to grant him his legal costs on the basis of the tribunal's 2002 finding that he obstructed and hindered its inquiry into a £35,000 payment made by him to communications minister Ray Burke.
The then tribunal chairman, Mr Justice Fergus Flood, had in 2000 found that that was a corrupt payment made to serve the interests of Century Radio and rejected Mr Barry's claim it was a political donation.
Mr Barry was refused his costs in 2004 and that refusal was upheld by tribunal chairman Alan Mahon in 2011.
In judicial review proceedings that opened yesterday before Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley, Mr Barry, of Hollystown Golf Club, Hollystown, Dublin 15, is not challenging the finding of corruption – although he maintains he gave truthful evidence to the tribunal.
Much of Mr Barry's evidence was accepted by the tribunal but it rejected his evidence as to the motive for the payment to Mr Burke, his counsel Hugh Mohan SC said.
Mr Mohan said he was challenging the finding of obstruction and hindrance made against Mr Barry insofar as that formed part of the tribunal's rationale for refusing costs.
Counsel said he was relying on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling which upheld claims by two directors of Joseph Murphy Structural Engineers that the tribunal was not entitled to refuse costs on the basis of findings of obstruction and hindrance made by it against them.
The Supreme Court found the tribunal had no power to make findings of obstruction and hindrance.
Mr Barry's claim was "on all fours" with that ruling and he was therefore entitled to his costs, Mr Mohan said.