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Tuesday 28 March 2017

Lawyer has been paid €660,000 for prisoner inquiry

Tom Brady Security Editor

A SENIOR counsel who is due to complete her report into the killing of a prisoner before the end of the year has been paid more than €650,000 since 2007, the Department of Justice said last night.

Departmental officials said they were surprised at media reports that Grainne McMorrow had not been paid for almost a year for her investigation into the death of Mountjoy prisoner Gary Douch and claimed that she had agreed to a deal on her remuneration, which had been fully met.

The officials said they were not aware of any complaint from her about payments.

Ms McMorrow was unavailable for comment last night at her Dublin home.

The initial deal involved a total fixed fee of €250,000 to chair the Douch Commission.

This was based on an understanding that her inquiry into the young man's death would last about six months.

The 21-year-old prisoner was attacked by a mentally ill inmate in a cell at Mountjoy in August 2006. Stephen Egan was subsequently convicted of his manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The commission of inquiry was delayed due to fears that it might jeopardise the criminal proceedings against Egan. This hampered Ms McMorrow's ability to complete her work within the expected time.

It was later agreed that Ms McMorrow would be paid a salary equivalent to that of a High Court judge and the final fee, which covered the period up to January 20 this year, amounted to around €660,000.

Last night, departmental officials outlined the deal and said it had also been agreed that if the report was not submitted by January last, then all further personal expense should be met by Ms McMorrow.

They said considerable efforts had been made by Ms Mc Morrow to keep costs to a minimum and total expenditure to date on the inquiry amounted to €1.3m, including all salaries.

Irish Independent

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