240,000 euro spent on Doherty by-election case costs

The Government paid more than €240,000 to cover Deputy Pearse Doherty’s legal costs following his successful 2010 legal action which led to the holding of the Donegal South West byelection.

The figures, published today by the Irish Times, cover the High Court case, and a Supreme Court appeal
which the government subsequently abandoned.

The byelection cost €244,000 to stage and the State spent a further €231,000 on postal costs.

The case brought by Mr Doherty sought to move the writ for the holding of Donegal South West byelection in 2010 because one of the constituency’s Dáil seats had remained unfilled for 17 months following Pat the Cope Gallagher’s election to the European Parliament in 2009.

After the High Court case the then Fianna Fáil led government moved to hold the byelection, but said it would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court to clarify a point of law.

The government later told the Supreme Court it was not proceeding with its appeal against the High Court finding of an “inordinate delay” by it in moving the writ for the byelection.

Both the Supreme Court and the High Court ordered that the State pay Mr Doherty’s legal costs. These were paid by the Department of the Taoiseach last April.

Documents obtained by the paper under the Freedom of Information Act show the department paid €175,125 to solicitors relating to the High Court case and €66,550 arising from the Supreme Court appeal.