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Four Courts buzzing at rare sight of AG

LAWYERS and laymen alike poured into the Four Courts yesterday to catch a glimpse of Attorney General Paul Gallagher in action.

The appearance of any AG in person to defend a case for the Government is a rare occurrence, but it's one that the Senior Counsel has deployed twice since his appointment as the State's chief legal officer.

Paul Gallagher is one of the country's sharpest legal minds and his strident defence of NAMA bore all the hallmarks of an apocalyptic event.

The AG stopped short yesterday of actually describing the banking crisis as an apocalypse but revealed how the banks had posed such a threat to the existence of the State that it required intervention by the Government on an unprecedented scale.

The State had "one chance" to prepare for a series of known and unknown events, said Mr Gallagher, adding that the banks were the conduit through which our economy could be preserved.

Mr Gallagher, the main author of the NAMA legislation, argued that Mr McKillen -- who owes €2.1bn to two Irish banks -- had failed to appreciate this.

For days, rumours have circulated that Belfast-born Paddy McKillen, who has not been pictured in public in more than 20 years, was "in the environs" of the Four Courts and "may" drop in on the proceedings.

This resulted in every small, grey-haired man who entered courtroom number four being scrutinised by the packed gallery to see if he was Mr McKillen.

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