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It turns out the Mahon Tribunal is going to cost less than was previously thought*

*Though it’s still a whopping €159 million.

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE OVERALL COST of the Mahon Tribunal will come in around 20 per cent lower than the government estimated two years ago, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.

As of last month the estimated overall cost of the long-running tribunal, which investigated corruption in the local authority planning system, is €159 million down on the €196 million that had been given in 2012.

Disputes over the payment of third-party legal fees and others costs mean that the tribunal is still costing the State money even though it reported over two years ago.

The Department of Environment has so far spent €106 million on the tribunal with remaining estimated costs of €53 million, its recently-apponted secretary general John McCarthy told the Public Accounts Committee this morning.

The Mahon Tribunal was the longest-running tribunal in the history of the State having been opened by Judge Fergus Flood in January 1998 before it was later taken over by Judge Alan Mahon.

It sat for more than 900 days and heard from more than 400 witnesses before it finally published its report in March 2012 finding primarily that former taoiseach Bertie Ahern had lied about the source of over STG£215,000 lodged in bank accounts connected to him.  He rejected the findings of the tribunal.

The report also made findings of corruption against former Fianna Fáil minister Padraig Flynn, developer Owen O’Callaghan, the late Fianna Fáil TD Liam Lawlor and 11 councillors.

Read: Key Mahon Tribunal witness Tom Gilmartin passes away

Read: The who’s who of the Mahon Tribunal

Read: Mahon Tribunal timeline: From whistleblower to digouts

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Hugh O'Connell

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