Senior lawyers in bank inquiry charged €264 an hour

Lawyers providing expert advice to the Oireachtas banking inquiry have been charging the inquiry a whopping €264 per hour.

This is revealed in new figures released by the House of the Oireachtas Commission which show the banking inquiry’s mounting legal costs last year contributed to the Commission’s payments to counsel and external solicitors increasing more than six-fold from €34,804 in 2013 to €207,227 last year.

In one instance, Charles Meenan SC charged €264 (excluding Vat) per hour where he was paid €5,940 for 22.5 hours work during September and October of last year.

In another instance, confirming that €264 per hour is the going rate for senior counsel who have advised the inquiry , Patrick McCann SC lodged two separate invoices where he billed €6,600 for 25 hours work.

One of the invoices covering the period September 22 to October 6 for €4,224 involved 16 hours work related to “review papers, research, and advice”.

A third senior counsel, Conor Dignam who has advised the banking inquiry, billed a total of €4,300. The bill is made up of two consultations on July 21 and 30 at €350 per consultation and opinions and advices priced at €1,800 each.

The rates for junior counsel for advising on the banking inquiry is €156 per hour.

The figures show that, in total, counsel advising on the banking inquiry received €23,678 in fees last year, with Mr McCann receiving the highest amount at €9,850.

Another significant factor behind the large increase in fees paid to counsel and external solicitors by the Oireachtas Commission was Conleth Bradley SC lodging his €36,110 bill for acting on behalf of an Oireachtas committee in a successful Supreme Court appeal, where it ruled that it was correct and entitled to conclude that former senator Ivor Callely had misrepresented his normal place of residence when claiming expenses. Mr Bradley only lodged his bill last July for work that stretched back to February 2012.

Mr Bradley received the highest amount among barristers who have worked for the Oireachtas Commission during 2014 and 2013 and is followed by Nuala Butler SC who received €23,900, with Cathal McGreal BL receiving €13,200.

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