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RTE libel lawyer's fees slashed by 70pc as calls mount for boss to quit

THE High Court Taxing Master has slashed the fees of the solicitor who acted for Fr Kevin Reynolds by almost 70pc.

In a move likely to set an important precedent, RTE got its legal bill for defaming the priest reduced by €195,000.

But the broadcaster was facing fresh calls for its chairman, Tom Savage, to resign.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath told an Oireachtas committee that Mr Savage had been "making a laugh" of Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte. Mr McGrath described the defamation as "downright disgraceful".

Dismay

But Mr Savage replied that the station's executives and staff members shared the anger and public dismay at the broadcast of the programme.

The reduction in the bill of Fr Reynolds's solicitor, Robert Dore, and his firm, Dore and Company, was imposed by High Court Taxing Master Declan O'Neill.

RTE will pay the costs as part of the settlement of the action brought against it by Fr Reynolds over defamation in the Prime Time Investigates: Mission To Prey programme.

The settlement involved a public apology to the priest and a payment thought to be in the region of €1m.

Dore and Company had sought an instruction fee of €275,000. During the taxation hearing, Mr Dore described as "insulting" RTE's assessment of the instruction fee as €44,750 and said that grossly underestimated the value of his work.

The instruction fee sought by Mr Dore was reduced to €80,000 after taking into account factors including the nature and extent of work involved and the recession.

hnews@herald.ie


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