Banking inquiry cost over €100,000 a day in last quarter

The cost of the Oireachtas banking inquiry soared to more than €103,000 per day for each of the 14 days it sat in the last quarter.
Banking inquiry cost over €100,000 a day in last quarter

In the quarter going from July 1 to the end of September, the inquiry heard from the likes of former taoisigh, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, along with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and minister for finance Michael Noonan.

Figures released by the Oireachtas Commission in response to a Freedom of Information request show the cost of the banking inquiry rose €1.4m in the last quarter or €103,357 for each day it conducted hearings during the period.

The costs of the inquiry to the end of September totals €4.9m. The largest proportion of pay in the third quarter went on banking inquiry investigator pay, totalling €642,856.

The inquiry has, since its inception, incurred €222,000 in legal support and new figures show one lawyer retained by the inquiry, Charles Meenan SC, earned €25,988 for work in June and July.

Over seven days, where Mr Meenan attended hearings during which Mr Ahern, Mr Cowen, and Mr Kenny gave evidence, the lawyer worked 107 hours.

On one day alone, when Mr Meenan worked 18 hours for the inquiry, the lawyer received €4,372.

Mr Meenan worked 18 hours on July 22 where he read the brief, reviewed documentation and questions, and provided expert legal advice concerning the appearances of David Begg, John Dunne, Fergus Murphy, Michael O’Flynn, and Sean Mulryan.

Fees charged are based on the agreed rate by the inquiry with senior counsel receiving €264 per hour less 8%. Junior counsel receive an hourly rate of €156 less 8%.

Mr Meenan sat through the evidence of Mr Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton, Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton and Pat Rabbitte on July 23 and was paid €3,522 for the day — marginally less than the €3,557 Mr Kenny receives each week as part of his €185,000 salary.

Payments to Mr Meenan during the quarter total €33,730.

The inquiry ceased public hearings on September 10. Inquiry staff were reduced from 51 at the end of June to 45 at the end of September.

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