Haughey estate is denied €2.5m in legal fees

The estate of former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey has received €2.5m or 65% less than it was claiming in third-party legal costs from the Moriarty Tribunal.

The estate of the late Taoiseach lodged a claim last year seeking €3.92m in legal costs arising from the long-running tribunal.

The claim was lodged in April 2013 on behalf of Mr Haughey’s estate and new figures show that the estate has now received €1.36m from the State in tribunal third-party costs, or 35% of what was claimed.

The payment — inclusive of Vat — has been made to solicitors, Ivor Fitzpatrick & Co.

A spokeswoman for the Taoiseach’s Department said: “The settlement of €1.36m is the total amount paid for this claim and is in full and final settlement.”

The former taoiseach, who died in June 2006, was the subject of the first of the tribunal’s two reports, published in December 2006.

The tribunal investigated payments to Mr Haughey during his years as taoiseach and whether he had sought to do favours for those who made payments to him.

It found that he took payments of €11.56m between 1979 and 1996, and granted favours in return. It said the scale and secretive nature of the payments “can only be said to have devalued the quality of a modern democracy”.

The report also stated that the late Mr Haughey lived a life vastly beyond the scale of what he earned as a public representative.

However, as the 700-page tribunal report did not find any specific finding that Mr Haughey obstructed or hindered the tribunal work, the Moriarty Tribunal awarded him his third-party costs.

In a bid to keep third-party costs from the tribunal to a minimum, the State Claims Agency last year established a legal costs unit.

According to a spokeswoman for the Taoiseach’s Department, to the end September (2014), a total of €4.76m has been paid to 48 parties in third-party costs relating to the tribunal, with the total amount claimed by them at €10.75m.

To date the unit has saved the State almost €6m.

Purchase orders published by the Taoiseach’s Department show that €2m was paid out in third-party costs in relation to the Moriarty Tribunal between July and the end of September.

Some €324,218 was paid to legal firm, Gore & Grimes Solicitors in relation to third-party costs for the late John Byrne’s Carlisle Trust.

The firm to lose out on the award of the third mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone, Persona Digital Telephony, was paid €312,030 in third-party legal costs with the firm’s solicitors named as Bowler Geraghty & Co Solrs.

A further payment of €82,266 was paid to Larchfield Securities Ltd, the firm was established in the early 1970s to look after the interests of the Haughey family.

The spokeswoman confirmed that the Carlise Trust/John Byrne claimed €1.08m; Personal Digital Telephony claimed €946,757 and Larchfield claimed €159,548.

The Moriarty Tribunal, was set up in 1997.


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