Defence department pays €3.7m in litigation

The Department of Defence paid more than €3.7m to deal with litigation last year and has spent more than €11m in the last three years dealing with legal cases.

Paul Kehoe

The annual report for 2017 for the Department and the Defence Forces shows that it received 135 new cases last year, including 118 new personal injury claims.

The report, which has been laid before the Oireachtas, also shows that there was an increase in the amount of money paid out in settlements for issues linked to employment in 2017, compared with previous years.

According to the annual report: “The Department’s Litigation Branch manages cases taken against the Minister for Defence, including personal injuries claims, judicial reviews, plenary summonses and civil bills. In doing so, the Branch works closely with both the State Claims Agency and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

During 2017, the branch continued to participate on the Risk Management Liaison Group, whose members also include representatives from the Defence Forces and the State Claims Agency. In addition, Litigation Branch managed one complaint made to the Medical Council in 2017.

“Total expenditure on all cases during 2017 amounted to €3,767,052.”

Of that figure, €3,331,423 related to personal injury, including €1.9m in settlements. Those figures are lower than in the previous two years. There were 346 personal injury cases on hand in the department at the end of 2017.

The amount paid out in settlements by the state solicitor’s office linked to employment issues last year was €188,820, more than in either 2015 or 2016.

Over the past three years, almost €11.4m has been paid by the department on dealing with litigation.

Other figures in the report included the random drug testing of 1,187 personnel, with 15 positive results, and 66 redress of wrongs applications received last year, of which 19 were withdrawn.

Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe, writing in the annual report, paid tribute to the work of the Defence Forces, citing work ranging from flood relief works, recovery efforts following ex-Hurricane Ophelia, and the rescuing of almost 1,900 people from the Mediterranean by the Naval Service.


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