ARTHUR Cox, the country's biggest law firm, is big for a reason. Even its partners' nixers make a lot of sense. Former managing partner Padraig O Riordain, below – the guy who advised Brian Lenihan on the night of the infamous bank guarantee – is on the board of Patrick Kennedy's Paddy Power Bookmakers. In fact, they live within spitting distance of each other in the heart of Dublin 6.
O Riordain, gets a perfectly pleasant €90,000 for his time. But his firm Arthur Cox does even better. Last year, Arthur Cox bagged fees of €318,894 from Paddy Power on top of €659,418 the previous year. This related to "legal and taxation advice received from Arthur Cox", according to Paddy Power.
Arthur Cox also does well out of another business connected to O Riordain. Semi-state Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) paid close to €1.4m to Arthur Cox in 2012, according to figures that I was able to ferret out of the airport company. O Riordain was appointed as €31,500-per-year chairman to Dublin Airport Authority by Fine Gael Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar in January 2012.
O Riordain is also a board member of Shane Reihill's listed investment outfit TVC Holdings. Guess who is its legal adviser? Yep, Arthur Cox. The law firm earned €159,000 in fees from TVC Holdings over the past two years.
Both Paddy Power and TVC mulled over O Riordain's independence as a director in light of these fees. But they both decided that the fees weren't big enough to pose a potential conflict of interest for O Riordain. Given that Arthur Cox had managed to work for Bank of Ireland, big property developers and the Department of Finance at the time of the crash, potential conflicts of interest are something they are well used to managing.