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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: July 14, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

    FF looks forward to post-tribunal Ireland

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    It would appear that Fianna Fáil has used the cover of the economic crisis to achieve a longheld political ambition: putting an end to the tribunals. At last week’s Cabinet meeting it was decided that all payments to tribunal lawyers would cease when the public hearings came to an end.

            A member of the Cowen inner circle remarked that if one of those tenacious lawyers who were wont to put senior politicians on the spot at Dublin Castle now wished to play a role in putting together the final report, they would have to do so on a pro bono basis, i.e., for nothing.  

             The cost-savings from cutting off payments to the lawyers will surely be quite minimal in comparison to the overall expenditure that has been incurred. The Government are also bringing in legislation in the autumn to curtail interest charges on third-party costs, e.g., fees to lawyers for a third party who went before the tribunal to clear his or her name. Legal sources say there are no interest payments in these situations but surely the Government would not lightly decide to introduce legislation? Whether serious amounts of money are at stake or not remains unclear.

               On Black Tuesday last week, when the programme of cutbacks was announced, there was only a passing reference to scaling down the costs of the tribunals. Needless to say, the media pack was focussing on the Big Picture of an economy in a tailspin. It was only at the weekend that details began to leak out. It’s safe to say that FF are looking forward to life in post-Tribunal Ireland. But as a cynical and worldly-wise Dublin man likes to say in these situations: “I hope it keeps fine for ya.”

     Deaglán de Bréadún

    • An Fear Bolg says:

      Yes this is a disgrace really. If the tribunals end up costing around €1 billion, surely this cut will lessen the value of the results, meaning that we will have wasted the bulk of that €1 billion so that we can save around €2 million.

      Times are tough and all, but this isn’t armageddon. The government shouldn’t feel the need to slash at every area of expenditure like this. Seems quite irresponsible.

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