€12m paid out in civil cases against Garda

THE state has paid out €12 million in civil cases related to Garda abuses investigated by the Morris tribunal.

The bill for malpractice in the Donegal division in the 1990s is set to rise even higher as 24 cases have still to be finalised. The figure does not include the case of publican Frank Shortt, as his case did not form part of the Morris inquiry.

Mr Shortt was awarded €4.7m by the Supreme Court in 2007 as a result of being framed by corrupt gardaí in Donegal and wrongly jailed for 27 months.

His case would bring the total bill for Donegal Garda abuses to date to almost €17m.

Figures compiled by the Department of Justice show that 102 civil cases have been taken in respect of issues which were subject to the terms of reference of the Morris tribunal. Of these:

* 73 have been dealt with (72 were settled and one was determined by the courts).

* 24 remain on hand.

* Five have been discontinued.

A department spokes-woman said: “The total cost to the State in settlements or awards so far in respect of these cases is €10.4m. Legal costs paid to date in respect of these cases amounts to €1.6m.”

She could not comment on how many cases were found in favour of the complainant or the defendant.

She said the 72 cases settled were done on “terms satisfactory to both parties”.

The one case that was not settled and was determined by the High Court was one taken by the business of Frank McBrearty Snr.

His nightclub firm, Frank McBrearty and Company, was awarded just under €2.5m compensation.

Mr McBrearty Snr and his wife, Rosalind, settled their personal case for a reported €2m, in addition to an agreement on legal costs.

Frank McBrearty Jnr, who was wrongly suspected and arrested for the murder of Richie Barron in October 1996, reached an agreement in 2005 to settle his case for €1.5m.

In relation to the cost of the Morris tribunal, which sat for six years, the department said the bill to the end of August was €49.7m.

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