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Tuesday 23 July 2019

Barristers paid €2.7m over Apple tax case

  

Stock photo
Stock photo

Gordon Deegan

Barristers have been paid €2.7m by the State in relation to the European Commission's €13bn ruling on State aid to tech giant Apple.

However, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that he can't disclose the identities of the barristers concerned following legal advice.

The Government has paid a total of €7.1m to barristers, solicitors and experts concerning the Apple tax case and in a written Dáil reply to Alan Kelly TD (Lab) Mr Donohoe has stated: "We have received legal advice that the disclosure of information relating to professional fees paid to named barristers on foot of a parliamentary question (PQ) is likely to be in breach of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act."

He added: "It is, however, possible to provide anonymised or aggregated information regarding counsels' fees provided that this is done in such a way as to protect the identity of the individual barristers."

Yesterday, Mr Kelly said: "A decision not to provide information on which individuals are in receipt of large amounts of taxpayers' money is not acceptable and cannot be excused by using GDPR as an excuse.

"The Dáil and the public have a right to know the names of the people being paid. What is the real reason that the names are being withheld given that they were previously released?

"If the minister doesn't provide the information, then I will be bringing the matter before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

"I specifically sought information on whether any of the barristers are full-time public servants working in universities in Ireland and I am very surprised that the minister omitted this information in his answer."

On May 24 last year, Mr Donohoe disclosed the up to date individual payments to named barristers to Mr Kelly in a written Dáil reply.

The European Commission found in 2016 that the State had granted State aid worth €13bn to Apple. Both Apple and the State have appealed the commission's decision.

Irish Independent

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