Top barrister at tribunal appointed High Court judge

The highest paid barrister with the tribunal into garda corruption has been nominated as a High Court judge.

Paul McDermott SC, worked for the Morris Tribunal and received fees of €3.2m with the inquiry — the highest paid of any of its legal staff.

Iseult O’Malley SC, the granddaughter of Kevin O’Higgins, the Free State minister assassinated in the 1920s, was also appointed to the High Court as a judge.

Their appointments come as the Coalition announced a series of nominations to senior legal positions and state funded-agencies yesterday.

Mr McDermott practises primarily in criminal law but also has experience in family law, judicial review and arbitration.

Ms O’Malley has worked with free legal advisers and was also involved in the hepatitis C compensation tribunal.

The criminal lawyer’s grandfather, Kevin O’Higgins was involved in Cumman na nGaedheal, the precursor to Fine Gael, before he was shot dead by the IRA in 1927. The extended O’Higgins family have also been involved in politics, with three others elected as Fine Gael TDs.

The Government also announced a series of appointments to the general assembly of the Irish Red Cross yesterday.

These included a former government minister and TD, as well as a sitting Labour party councillor.

Mary Flaherty is a former Fine Gael TD and was previously appointed by former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, as a junior minister for social welfare.

She served Dublin North West as a TD for 16 years up until 1997. She was also a party spokeswoman on development affairs for some years.

Darren Ryan is the mayor of Clonmel and is also a Labour Party councillor on South Tipperary County Council, where he is the party’s council leader.

He has been heavily involved in the Irish Red Cross both at local and national level for many years, and is the chairperson of Irish Red Cross Youth.

A Department of Defence spokeswoman said the Irish Red Cross nominees would not receive any pay, and would only be given travel expenses and have their subsistence paid for.


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