DPP paid lawyers €34.9m in 22 months
Private solicitors working for the Director of Public Prosecutions were paid more than €11.6 million over 22 months from January 2011, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Acts.
Barristers were paid a total of €23.3 million over the same period.
The top-earning solicitors practice contracted to the State Solicitor Service was Barry Galvin Son in Cork city. The practice was paid more than €900,000 between January 2011 and the end of October 2012.
The highest-paid barrister was Thomas O’Connell SC, who earned more than €450,000 over the 22 months.
The figures, provided by the DPP’s office, were available for fees paid up to the end of October 2012. They show more than 160 barristers worked for DPP Claire Loftus during the period, and most in both 2011 and 2012.
Some 32 State solicitors are contracted to work for the DPP, with each one designated to a particular region and each contract lasting 10 years.
Fees paid to them include allowances for a personal salary, staff costs, premises and other overheads, as well as travel and subsistence. Remuneration is divided into six bands to reflect the anticipated amount of work required in each geographical area. Additional fees are paid in certain circumstances, including long-running trials.
In 2007, the DPP took over responsibility for paying State solicitors from the Attorney General’s office. An 8 per cent cut in fees was imposed in 2009 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act.
The second-highest payment to a solicitor over the 22-month period was more than €650,000 and was made to Michael D Murray Solicitors in Limerick city. The third-highest, of almost €440,000, went to Edward O’Sullivan Solicitors in Kerry.
Vincent O’Reilly of Steen O’Reilly Solicitors, covering Meath, was paid almost €438,000 and Francis Hutchinson Solicitors, based in Waterford, was paid almost €433,000.
Limerick-based John O’Sullivan BL earned the second-highest barrister fees, more than €427,000; and Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC, who has been involved in cases including actions against Anglo Irish Bank, was paid the third-highest fees, more than €426,000.
Barrister and writer Noel Whelan was paid €384,000 for the 22-month period, and Garnet Orange BL received more than €344,000.
Cut by a quarter
Fees paid to barristers include 21 per cent VAT and have been cut by up to 25 per cent since the recession. They pay expenses, including secretarial services and office rental, from the fees they receive.
Frank Nyhan, president of the State Solicitors’ Association and the DPP’s solicitor for Cork northeast, said State solicitors were contracted to provide their own staff and office and did not have a State pension. They were also contracted to provide service on a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year basis. “We are not entitled to a pension or holidays,” he added.
Mr Galvin, who was involved in high-profile cases including the Northern Bank money-laundering case, said 10 staff in his office were involved in State work on a whole- or part-time basis.
Last year, his payment from the DPP included €90,600 for his salary, staff costs of just under €280,000, expenses of just under €120,000 and a pension contribution.
DPP payments Jan 2011-Oct 2012
Top ten solicitors
Barry Galvin Son Solicitors, Cork city €915,894
Michael D Murray Solicitors, Limerick city €651,363
Edward O’Sullivan Solicitors, Kerry €438,978
Vincent O’Reilly, Steen O’Reilly Solicitors, Meath €437,524
Ciaran Liddy Solicitors, Donegal €433,587
Francis Hutchinson Solicitors, Waterford €432,932
John Brosnan, solicitor, Cork southeast €432,240
Martin Linnane Co Solicitors, Clare €429,716
Fergus Mullen , solicitor , Louth €425,942
William J Kennedy, solicitor, Galway west €421,802
Top ten barristers
Thomas O’Connell SC €457,326
John O’Sullivan BL €427,268
Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC €426,583
Noel Whelan BL €384,017
Garnet Orange BL €344,354
Thomas Rice BL €331,878
Vincent Heneghan BL €330,770
Dominic McGinn SC €316,900
Paul A McDermott BL €315,322
Orla Crowe BL €314,247