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Power, payments, politicians and planning: the Mahon Tribunal in numbers

How much did the report cost per page? How many times does it mention ‘corruption’? And who opposed setting it up?

44 - The number of the house on Beresford Avenue in which Bertie Ahern now lives, after a house was bequeathed to him in a Will in 1996.
44 - The number of the house on Beresford Avenue in which Bertie Ahern now lives, after a house was bequeathed to him in a Will in 1996.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE FINAL REPORT of the Mahon Tribunal was a long time in coming, with years of hearings and hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence considered by a mammoth legal team.

Here, to try and break down the impact of the Tribunal, is a selection of numbers relating to its operation and findings.

5,280 – The number of days between the decision of Dáil Éireann to establish a tribunal examining ‘certain planning matters and payments’. The Dáil passed its motion to establish the tribunal on October 7, 1997.

5 – The number of TDs who voted against establishing the Tribunal. The Socialist Party (Joe Higgins), Green Party (John Gormley, Trevor Sargent), Sinn Féin (Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin) and independent TD Tony Gregory voted against the motion establishing it. The motion itself was put down by Bertie Ahen, the newly-elected Taoiseach.

5 – The number of reports published by the Tribunal. The four interim reports discussed the tribunal’s forthcoming work,  the findings relating to Ray Burke and George Redmond.

3,720 – The number of pages in the fifth and final report published on Thursday. The report, a 56 MB download (available here), is 41 times larger than the capacity of a formatted floppy disk, which was a popular method of file-saving when the Tribunal was established.

917 – The total number of days of public hearings held by the Tribunal over its 14 years. The final day of public hearings was in December 2008; the Tribunal has, since then, been compiling its findings.

437 – The total number of witnesses who have been called to give evidence at the Tribunal. They include developers, TDs, other councillors, PR officers and journalists.

99 – The number of days for which Frank Dunlop gave evidence to the Tribunal. He was, by far, its most regular witness – though was described in the final report as being a troublesome and unreliable one.

€247 million – The total (estimated) possible cost of the tribunal, based on estimates from Judge Alan Mahon and the Comptroller and Auditor General. They believe the State’s bill for witnesses’ legal fees could reach €147 million, on top of the €100 million in operational and legal fees that the Tribunal has already run up in its 14 years.

€75,535 - The potential cost, per page, of the final report – dividing the maximum €247 million cost by the 3,270 pages.

€30 million – The amount set aside by the Department of Public Expenditure to cover the costs of any legal bills for which the State is liable. That’s for this year – the Department explains that the other costs could only be incurred in further years when people submit their legal bills.

€5.59 million - The amount paid to the highest-earning member of the Tribunal’s in-house legal team, Patricia Dillon SC. She worked on the Tribunal for over ten years. Two other counsels, Patrick Quinn and Desmond O’Neill, earned over €5 million each for their work.

35 – The total number of barristers, solicitors and paralegal workers who have worked on the Tribunal.

€32,000 – The one-off briefing fee paid to Senior Counsels working on the Tribunal. Junior counsels were paid €21,000.

€2,250 – The pay for senior counsels for each day of work on the Tribunal. Junior counsels earned €1,500 per day. These rates were increased in 2002; before then, daily fees were set at €1,714 and €1,143 for senior and junior counsels respectively.

£165,214.50 - The total amount of lodgements to accounts controlled by Bertie Ahern for which the Tribunal rejected Ahern’s explanation.

$0 – The amount charged by the FBI to perform a forensic analysis on the redacted diaries of Frank Dunlop.

11 – The number of councillors against whom findings of corruption have previously been made, on foot of tribunal business. Only six were named due to various legal restrictions; three were from Fianna Fáil, one each from Fine Gael and Labour, and one independent.

3 – The number of times Liam Lawlor was jailed for contempt of court, for refusing to follow High Court orders to co-operate with the Tribunal. On the third such instance, he was temporarily released to attend a Dáil debate calling for his resignation as a TD.

5 – The number of senior Fianna Fáil figures who the report says knew of Tom Gilmartin’s £50,000 donation to Pádraig Flynn – solicited as a donation to Fianna Fáil, but which Flynn kept for himself. These figures included Ahern, who knew of the donation in 1989, but who did not raise queries about it for almost a decade afterward.

977 – The number of times the words ‘corrupt’ or ‘corruption’ (or variants of them) appear in the Tribunal’s final report.

11 – The number of hours between the publication of the final report, shortly before 10am last night, and the announcement from Fianna Fáil’s officer board that it would propose the expulsion of Bertie Ahern, Pádraig Flynn and three other councillors.

In full: TheJournal.ie’s coverage of the Mahon Tribunal >

More: Check out our other In Numbers pieces >

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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