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Nine legal staff on Moriarty Tribunal earned €33.7 million

The Public Accounts Committee is told that Enda Kenny may have to seek extra funding from the Dáil to cover costs.

The Moriarty Tribunal still has a legal and administrative team to process claims for legal fees, despite having published its report last year.
The Moriarty Tribunal still has a legal and administrative team to process claims for legal fees, despite having published its report last year.
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

THE MORIARTY TRIBUNAL’S legal team of nine people earned a total of €33.7 million over the course of the 14-year tribunal, the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee has been told.

TDs heard yesterday that two senior counsel had earned over €9 million on working on the Tribunal, with a third making just under €7m after working on the Tribunal for over 13 years.

Jeremiah Healy SC earned €9,517,495 for his work, while John Coughlan SC earned €9,285,628 and Jacqueline Healy earned €6,924,576.

Junior counsel Marie Moriarty, who worked on the Tribunal until last June, earned €2,500,734, while Stephen McCullough earned €2,046,737 having worked on the Tribunal from May 2002 to the present.

Patrick Dillon-Malone, another junior counsel, earned €309,077 having worked on the Tribunal from 2001 to 2003, from October 2010 to March 2011, and intermittently since then.

McCullough and the solicitor, Stuart Brady – who has earned €2,014,105 for his work on the Tribunal from January 2005 to present – remain working on the Tribunal, while Dillon-Malone works for it on an irregular basis..

Martin Fraser, the chief civil servant at the Department of the Taoiseach, told the committee it was his understanding that the legal staff had worked solely on the Tribunal while assigned to it, and had not also been working on other cases.

The committee was also told that the Tribunal’s costs for dealing with third-party legal fees could still reach anywhere between €40 million and €80 million, on top of its total running costs to date of €43 million, including the €33 million in the Tribunal’s own legal fees.

To date, the Tribunal had only received claims for third-party legal fees of €1.7 million, which were now being processed by the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

Fraser agreed with committee chairman John McGuinness to write to the Tribunal to seek guidance on how much could be expected in third-party legal costs, subject to the Tribunal’s usual operational independence.

McGuinness said it was important to ascertain how much the State was exposed to, and that it was “unfair” to the taxpayer for there not to be “closure” on how much the Tribunal – which published its final report in March 2011 – would cost.

Budget allocations for this year allocated €650,000 for legal and administrative work at the Tribunal, a sum Fraser said would cover its costs until about June, at which point it was expected that the Tribunal’s work would wind down.

Fraser acknowledged that if the Tribunal’s three full-time administrative staff were required beyond that point, Taoiseach Enda Kenny may be faced with the prospect of having to go to the Dáil and seeking further funding to cover their costs.

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Gavan Reilly

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