Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 4, inclusive, together.
The remit of the commission of investigation is set out in the terms of reference which were published in Iris Oifigiúil on 13 May 2005. The estimated legal fees, salaries and other administrative costs for the commission were also published in Iris Oifigiúil on the same date. The estimated total cost is €604,880 for a six month period. This does not include any third party costs that may be awarded by the commission. Section 24 of the Commission of Investigations Act 2004 makes it clear that there is no absolute entitlement to pay third party legal costs. Such costs will only be payable on foot of a direction from the commission as provided for in that section.
Public notices were placed on various dates from the week beginning Monday, 23 May 2005 in Irish national newspapers and selected newspapers in the UK, Northern Ireland and County Monaghan, indicating how the terms of reference may be accessed and giving contact information for the commission. The commission is based in offices in Dublin Castle and it is supported by one senior counsel and three civil servants seconded from my Department. The advice of the Attorney General has not been sought with regard to the possibility of taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights.