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Disgraced ex-judge does U-turn over €1m legal costs deal

DISGRACED former judge Brian Curtin and his legal team have performed a spectacular U-turn by accepting a €1m cut-price deal to cover their costs from a Dail inquiry into his fitness to be a judge.

The Oireachtas last night admitted a "certain satisfaction" in saving €1m for the taxpayer by pressing ahead with paying only half the original bill.

The judge and his lawyers dramatically rejected a take-it-or-leave-it offer of about €980,000 from the Oireachtas last year and sent the cheque back to Leinster House.

The amount of costs to be paid appeared destined to be resolved in court.

But the Oireachtas held firm and the judge and his legal team have now come back to say they will accept the offer, bringing closure to a controversial affair going back almost a decade.

Mr Curtin faced impeachment proceedings after charges of child pornography possession were dropped.

The former Circuit Court judge subsequently retired on grounds of ill-health before he could be called as a witness at the inquiry.

The Oireachtas inquiry never held public hearings or got to quiz Mr Curtin and was bogged down in legal challenges for the best part of two years.

But the Supreme Court awarded the judge his costs, giving the Oireachtas no choice but to pay up.

Mr Curtin was represented by solicitor Robert Pierse, of Co Kerry solicitors firm Pierse and Fitzgibbon, and barristers John Rogers, Paul Burns and Cian Ferriter.

Mr Rogers is the former Attorney General and adviser to former Labour Party leader and Tanaiste Dick Spring.

Irish Independent