Oireachtas public accounts committee chair and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness said legal groups such as the office of the chief state solicitor and the office of the director of public prosecutions should stop fighting the cases as “money is being spent that just doesn’t achieve anything”.
Speaking during a lengthy meeting with the State institutions and the office of the attorney general over spending issues, Mr McGuinness said while there are funding gaps if the bodies are genuinely serious about saving money they would not stand in the way of victims who seek justice.
The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said he is aware of one case where a State barrister “was being paid €1,500 per day” to allow “the powerful to get their way” and that the issue is wasting vital taxpayer funds for no reason, hitting out at “not only the legal costs but the human cost, the lives of families have been destroyed by this”.
The issue has been repeatedly raised due to a series of high-profile cases which were dragged out for lengthy periods before settlements were reached — a situation patient advocacy groups insist is an attempt to discourage claims.
Mr McGuinness’ comment came on the same day as Health Minister Leo Varadkar launched a new patient safety group to make lodging complaints easier and again emphasised the need to set up an open disclosure system to address mistakes in Ireland.