Minister McDowell is stirring the pot again, this time he is questioning the enormous cost of the tribunal system. Bertie Ahern, in a pre-recorded lunchtime interview on Newstalk will put some ‘distance’ between himself and his tainiste:
“I’m not going to call for the end of something I was subject to.
“I was up in front of it because of the position I held. A number of years ago we decided in all tribunals that there was a date they had to be finished by and if it wasn’t reached then, the fees would come in at a lower level .
“The tribunal have an argument that they have been frustrated, but there are 12,000 discovery orders totaling €400m, third party costs of hundreds of millions – I have no idea, so I am not going to speculate – and legal fees outstanding to hundreds of solicitors of €100m,” he said.
When pressed if the Mahon tribunal should be allowed to complete its final report, the Taoiseach says he would be the last person in the world that would want to see the tribunals frustrated. I don’t think we are going to see them winding up.
“I’m certainly not going to interfere.”