Barristers paid €2.7m in Apple tax case

Legal and other experts paid €7.1m so far

So far this year the Government has paid €142,116 to barristers retained in relation to the Apple tax case. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

So far this year the Government has paid €142,116 to barristers retained in relation to the Apple tax case. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

 

Barristers have been paid €2.7 million by the State in relation to the European Commission’s €13 billion ruling on State aid to Apple.

However, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that, following legal advice, he could not disclose the identities of the barristers concerned.

The Government has paid €7.1 million in total to barristers, solicitors and experts concerning the Apple tax case, Mr Donohoe said.

In a written Dáil reply to Labour Party TD Alan Kelly, Mr Donohoe said: “We have received legal advice that the disclosure of information relating to professional fees paid to named barristers on foot of a parliamentary question is likely to be in breach of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act.

“It is, however, possible to provide anonymised or aggregated information regarding counsel’s fees provided that this is done in such a way as to protect the identity of the individual barristers.”

On Friday, Mr Kelly said: “A decision not to provide information on which individuals are in receipt of large amounts of taxpayers’ money is not acceptable and cannot be excused by using GDPR as an excuse.”

“The Dáil and the public has a right to know the names of the people being paid. What is the real reason that the names are being withheld given that they were previously released. If the Minister doesn’t provide the information then I will be bringing the matter before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Individual payments

On May 24th last year, Mr Donohoe disclosed the then up-to-date individual payments to named barristers to Mr Kelly in a written Dáil reply, the day before GDPR was introduced.

The payments up until that date showed that Barry Doherty received €359,465; Philip Baker QC received €312,395; Maurice Collins SC got €250,689; Aoife Goodman received €200,880 and Denis McDonald SC was paid €169,398.

The payments also include €80,456 paid to former attorney general Paul Gallagher, while Dr Suzanne Kingston received €53,172. Conor Quigley SC was paid €58,537.

In his written Dáil reply to Mr Kelly published on Friday, Mr Donohoe said that so far this year barristers have been paid €142,116, compared with the €444,290 paid in 2018, and the €1.1 million paid in 2017.

William Fry Solicitors have been paid €3.1 million with PwC paid €595,400 and McCann Fitzgerald paid €528,470.

Mr Donohoe said the case has involved a significant degree of legal and technical complexity, and additional expertise has been engaged where required.