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Sunday 19 November 2017

Coughlan seeks review of Molloy deal

Anita Guidera, Barry Duggan and Shane Phelan

TANAISTE Mary Coughlan has gone back to the Attorney General for further advice on the controversial severance package awarded to former FAS director general Rody Molloy.

Ms Coughlan revealed last night that, in the light of criticism of the deal in the latest report by the Comptroller & Auditor General, she had contacted Attorney General Paul Gallagher and asked him to consider the matter further.

Mr Gallagher was not asked for legal advice when the controversial deal, which will see Mr Molloy netting €3.8m over 30 years, was negotiated in November 2008. He was eventually asked to examine it late last year after controversy erupted when the full details of the package became known.

Fine Gael Enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar yesterday alleged the deal, which will see Mr Molloy receive almost €900,000 more than a comparable public servant would, was concluded illegally.

However, Ms Coughlan insisted she believed it was fully legal.

"Sanction would not have been obtained if the Department of Finance or my Department was not fully of the view that this matter was legal," she said.

"I did ask the Attorney General to give further advice arising form the C&AG's initial reports and now the present one. I am awaiting his final deliberation on that and that will be made known quite soon."

Responding to Mr Varadkar's comments, Ms Coughlan insisted that she had to make a judgement call based on her experience.

"Many politicians have been criticised for making decisions and then ending up in court and costing the State an independent fortune," she said.

She alluded to a previous ministerial decision that became the subject of litigation and resulted in the person in question receiving almost twice as much as had been sanctioned by the minister in question.

Meanwhile, the Tanaiste has defended her appointments to the new FAS board, insisting that they had been appointed for their expertise and experience and not their political affiliation.

The minister stressed that following the internal audit and the C&AG reports, disciplinary action was under way.

Irish Independent

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