Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has signalled a willingness to reverse his department’s decision not to release the fees paid to barristers involved in the €14bn Apple appeal.
His department had previously released figures including the individual payments to barristers acting on its behalf in the Apple case, but stopped after the introduction of new European data rules, known as GDPR.
It said the Attorney General provided advice which suggested the release of such data would be contrary to GDPR rules, but this stance has been strongly contested by the Public Accounts Committee and the Data Protection Commissioner.
Speaking in Longford, Mr Donohoe insisted he is committed to ensuring the greatest level of transparency possible.
“In relation to the views of the Public Accounts Committee [PAC] firstly we’re considering what they have to say,” he told the Irish Examiner. “In relation to the issue of the cost of the fees of Apple, and what they could be in the future.
On foot of stories in this newspaper, the PAC has now written to the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon to get its views formally on the matter.
Labour TD Alan Kelly has described the decision of the Department of Finance not to release these figures as “insane” and said it would set a “dangerous, dangerous precident”.
Mr Kelly has said people working in the public service will no longer have to reveal if they are getting a second payment for additional work if this GDPR ruling stands, which is currently not allowed.
“I also asked questions regarding the two payments system when it comes to public servants,” said Mr Kelly.
“In other words, one can only get one payment if, for instance, one works for a university, are a member of a board or anything like that. I understand that a number of people who are being paid under this actually do work in other public sector roles as well.
“I was absolutely shocked that this information was denied to me. I was further shocked that the Attorney General’s advice was that this information cannot be given. Frankly, it is a scandal the volumes of money that are being paid but nobody knows where the money is being spent, who it has been given to, for what and in what detail.”