Haughey estate to get €5m in legal costs
THE estate of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey has been awarded costs of up to €5m by the Moriarty Tribunal.
The tribunal awarded the costs in recent months despite making damning findings against him, including describing secretive payments of €11.5m made to him between 1979 and 1996 in return for favours as "devaluing the quality of modern democracy".
Mr Haughey was the subject of the first of the tribunal's two reports, which was published in December 2006. The inquiry was established to investigate alleged payments made to him during his years as Taoiseach, but his family disputed its findings, saying they were not supported by the evidence.
Reports said that Mr Haughey's legal fees were likely to reach €5m, and that a decision to award costs was decided some months ago.
There was no comment from the tribunal yesterday, and his family could not be reached for comment.
It is understood that the solicitors and barristers who represented the disgraced politician -- Ivor Fitzpatrick solicitors and barristers Eoin McGonigal SC and Paul Gardiner SC -- will now submit their bills to the State Claims Agency (SCA), which will decide if the costs are reasonable and should be paid in full, or reduced.
Part of the National Treasury Management Agency, the SCA was given additional powers earlier this year to manage and adjudicate on legal costs incurred by the State.
It has no role in deciding if costs should be awarded, which is at the discretion of the tribunal chairman.
If the claimant is unhappy with the SCA's decision, it can be brought to the Taxing Master of the High Court for a final decision. The SCA would not confirm if Mr Haughey's legal fees were paid, saying it did not comment on individual cases.
Among tribunal disclosures were the fact that Mr Haughey had debts of €1.2m with AIB when he became taoiseach in 1979, but it wrote off much of it after he secured high office.