Lawyers for state make €485,000 defending cases from Denis O’Brien and Angela Kerins

There’s a very simple lesson here, I think. Tell your children to become lawyers.

Gript can report that The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission has confirmed to the Dáil that the costs incurred in legal fees relating to the Angela Kerins and Denis O’Brien Supreme Court cases will amount to just under half a million euro.

The Commission expects the total fees to be approximately €485,000.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission also confirmed that representation for the Oireachtas in the courts, on the Angela Kerins case involved two senior counsel, namely, Paul Gallagher and Brian Kennedy. Paul Gallagher is a former Attorney General. These two senior counsels were also assisted by two junior counsel.

Two senior counsel were also retained in the Denis O’Brien case.

Mr. O’Brien sued the Dáil in 2016, in an attempt to gain the ability to sue Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty for comments made in relation to the SiteServ deal. The courts ruled in favour of the Oireachtas, upholding parliamentary privilege. Parliamentary privilege, in layman’s terms, gives TDs the right to say what they want in the Dáil with total legal protection and immunity from libel or defamation actions.

Ms. Kerins, the former CEO of Rehab, sued the Dáil in the aftermath of her appearance at the Public Accounts Committee, which is widely perceived as having forced her to resign from her position. She contended that her rights had been breached by the committee, and that she was treated unfairly. The Supreme Court ruled that she had, in fact, been treated in an unlawful manner. The case is currently being appealed.

The Commission has acknowledged that if all the in-house solicitors’ work had not been conducted by Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers, the increased cost in legal fees would have been ‘considerable.’

The fees are notable here in the context of former Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s 2015 attempt to reform the legal system and reduce the costs of cases. At the time, the Minister did not hold back in his comments in relation to lawyers, calling their practices “anti-competitive” and proposing a new office to adjudicate on exorbitant legal costs.

Naturally, it didn’t go anywhere.

Oh well.


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