Sunday 19 November 2017

Four years after it shut, Moriarty still costing millions

A copy of the Moriarty Tribunal Report is held up at Dublin Castle. Photo: Tom Burke
A copy of the Moriarty Tribunal Report is held up at Dublin Castle. Photo: Tom Burke
John Drennan

John Drennan

Seventeen years after its establishment in 1997, the controversial Moriarty Tribunal is still paying out massive legal fees to its own staff.

Last year, the Tribunal, which last sat in public in October 2010, paid out €3.7m in third party, legal and administrative fees, it's been revealed.

The Taoiseach told Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan in response to a written question that this sum also paid for legal cost accountant fees and historic witness appearance costs.

Third-party legal fees in respect of 18 claims cost the taxpayer €2.55m.

Originally the parties in question had submitted legal bills of €6.93m but these were more than halved on appeal.

The remaining €1.15m was spent on the Tribunal's own legal and administrative costs.

The Tribunal legal team cost €390,118 while the balance consisted of administration - €171,172 - and other costs of €589,150.

The highest payment in 2014 of €1,362m went to the estate of the former Taoiseach.

However, the tough-minded approach now being taken on legal fees means this represented a substantial reduction on the original claim, made by the estate of Mr Haughey of €3.92m.

Other costly settlements in 2014 included the Carlisle Trust/John Byrne (€324,218) Persona Digital Telephony (€312,030) and Conor, Ciaran and Sean Haughey and Emer Mulhern whose legal costs came to €109,151.

Other figure and entities who were awarded costs included the estate of late Dr John O'Connell (€32,944) the Irish Press PLC, incorporating Dr Eamon de Valera and Vincent Jennings (€13,048) and Goodman International who received €15,500.

When it came to the €1.15 million spent by the Tribunal on its own administration and legal costs, Mr Kenny's reply revealed that the long-term Tribunal solicitor Stuart Brady was paid €208,663 whilst the Tribunal BL Stephen McCullough received €160,823 in legal fees.

These latest figures means costs associated with the Tribunal's legal team has now broken through the €35m barrier.

The Taoiseach noted that the Tribunal back-up team has now been substantially reduced.

However, Deputy Durkan slammed the ongoing level of costs, saying: ''This appears to be a never-ending saga.

"Tribunal legal fees appear to be like an earthquake where the ripples continue for years afterwards,'' he said.

Sunday Independent

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