Solicitor struck off in €57m borrowing scandal

The High Court today struck off solicitor Thomas Byrne and fined him €1m following an investigation into his finances which found he owed almost €57m to financial institutions.

Today the President of the High Court Mr Justice Richard Johnson made the orders upholding the recommendations of the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal against Mr Byrne last month. The tribunal heard borrowings of almost €57m had been uncovered in Mr Byrne's accounts.

The application to have Mr Byrne, whose practice at Walkinstown Road, Dublin has been closed down following an investigation that began last October, struck off was presented to Mr Justice Johnson at the High Court by Shane Murphy SC on behalf of the Law Society.

Seán Ó Síocháin BL for Mr Byrne said his client had been beholden to one particular client and he asked the High Court to bear in mind that unlike another high profile solicitor, Michael Lynn, Mr Byrne had appeared before the court on every occasion and was prepared to take his punishment.

Counsel said that Mr Byrne regretted what had happened. In asking the court for sympathy for his client Mr Ó Síocháin said that as a result of being struck off Mr Byrne would be unable to provide for his young children and his wife.

Mr Byrne, counsel said, had also "tendered his resignation" as a solicitor in January of this year.

However the President of the High Court Mr Justice Johnson said he would apply the full force of the tribunal's findings.

He imposed a fine of €1m and struck Mr Byrne's name off the roll of solicitors. Mr Justice Johnson also awarded the Law Society their costs against Mr Byrne.

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