Legal fees dwarf flood settlement
FEES incurred by expert witnesses and lawyers involved in a claim for damages following a major flooding event ended up costing more than six times the eventual settlement.
The Local Government Auditor expressed "concern" about the high cost of settling the case, which arose following a flood at Slatty Pond near Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, in 2008.
Legal and expert witnesses' costs were agreed in 2013 following "protracted negotiations", with the bill amounting to €492,000.
However, Cork County Council settled the High Court claim following senior counsel's advice in 2009 - a year after the flood - for €75,000, "largely to limit the council's financial exposure".
"I expressed my concern to management at the level of costs incurred in that court proceedings were undertaken without a proper risk assessment," the auditor noted.
"The Senior Management Team (in the council) should consider reviewing all cases before a decision is made to allow High Court action."