Smithwick Tribunal report: Costs incurred run to €15 million
About €6 million went in servicing general legal fees and costs
The overall cost of the tribunal represents an average bill of about €1.9 million per year
The overall cost of the Smithwick Tribunal to the State has been estimated at €15 million.
The bulk of that figure, some €12 million, was borne by the Department of Justice which had responsibility for funding proceedings.
About €6 million of that €12 million was to service general legal fees and costs, while the remainder is accounted for by logistical and clerical expenses.
A more detailed breakdown of the fees for lawyers was not immediately available upon the publication of findings last night.
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It is also understood that the Office of Public Works (OPW), the State body that had accommodated the tribunal at St Stephen’s Green House in Dublin, incurred a further €3 million in related expenses.
The tribunal was established by resolutions passed in the Dáil in 2005. Judge Smithwick began his investigations into Garda collusion with the IRA in 2006, and public hearings began in 2011.
The overall cost represents an average bill of about €1.9 million per year, and brings to an end a controversial era of expensive public inquiries in Ireland.
Tom O’Malley, a senior lecturer in law at the National University of Ireland Galway, said yesterday the public appetite for the model may no longer exist given the considerable outcry caused by the costs involved.
“I am surprised that it didn’t cost more given the amount of time it went on,” he said following the publication of Smithwick.
“It’s obviously a lot of money, and we have yet to see what they have come out with.
“Before we set up any further tribunals I think we need to have a kind of objective review as to what exactly they are achieving.”