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Taxpayers pick up tab

When Athletics Ireland sacked its chief executive Mary Coghlan in 2009, it set in train a series of events which culminated in a High Court case in March 2010.

The case, alleging defamation and misfeasance in public office, was taken by Coghlan against AI and the Irish Sports Council. After three days of evidence, AI and the ISC settled. The cost to the taxpayer was enormous and raised serious questions about the credibility of the two organisations.

In September 2010, it emerged that Coghlan was paid €125,000 in the settlement, with a further €184,283 to her legal team. The costs were split between the two organisations, €150,000 from the ISC and €159,283 from AI.

A clearer picture has now emerged of the full cost of this saga to the taxpayer.

The ISC's annual report for 2010 was published on Friday and it showed that its legal costs for this case were a staggering €401,961. And, according to accounts lodged with the Companies Office, AI's legal fees for 2009, when the proceedings were issued, were €382,651 and 2010 were €68,825. Although these figures are not broken down, it is safe to assume this case was responsible for the lion's share of them.

The report also points out that the settlement was "without admission of liability", but if handing over €800,000 of Irish sport's money is not an admission of liability, then it's hard to know what is.


Sunday Indo Sport