Revenue paid €31m to legal firms and barristers over five years


The Revenue Commissioners paid out more than €31.3 million to legal firms and barristers for their services over a period of almost five years.

At more than €22.8 million, debt collection and recovery was the largest contributor to the costs, with five firms earning more than €3 million for such services between January 2008 and last October.

Legal support for debt collection on behalf of the Revenue is divided among six solicitors’ firms which successfully tendered for the work.

Of these, Dublin-based solicitors firm Ivor Fitzpatrick Company received fees of more than €4.75 million during the period, the largest amount.

Pierse Fitzgibbon, based in Listowel, Co Kerry, was paid €3.94 million, Dublin-based Matheson Ormsby Prentice earned more than €3.87 million, and Limerick-based Holmes O’Malley Sexton received fees of more than €3.78 million.

Dublin firms Mason Hayes Curran (€3.3 million) and Lavelle Coleman are also members of the debt-collection panel, with the latter earning €1.28 million between 2010 and last October.

Former member

A former member of the panel, Cavan-based George V Maloney Co, received fees of €1.82 million for debt-collection services between 2008 and 2011.

The figures were provided by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald.

They also show that Revenue paid €8.4 million to barristers during the period between January 2008 and last October.

Revenue employs in-house solicitors who engage external barristers to work on individual tax cases. “Virtually all the fees paid to counsel relate to tax and customs compliance, including tax avoidance,” according to the reply.

“Costs arise in the context of individual tax and customs cases, which cannot be detailed for reasons of taxpayer confidentiality, where Revenue is challenging or being challenged.”

The figures show six barristers earned fees in excess of €500,000 in the period.

Revenue work

Senior counsel Gráinne Clohessy earned €1.16 million for Revenue work between 2008 and last October, more than any other barrister in the period. She got fees of €288,084 in 2008, €239,485 in 2009, €338,936 in 2010, €207,709 in 2011 and €88,452 between January and October of last year. Senior counsel Anthony M Collins earned €971,895 during the period; Ciarán Ramsay SC €731,582; Conor Bourke €610,288 and Kelley Smith €572,413.