The recent revelations at the Moriarty Tribunal must surely qualify as the stuff of GUBU. It seems that the tribunal’s legal team have been in possession of crucial information since October 2002 which should have resolved “the ownership issue”, but they chose instead to pursue a line of inquiry that appears to have completely discounted and concealed that information.
In addition, it seems the tribunal chairman has relied on a “phantom” letter, allegedly written by the Attorney general’s office, to support this particular line of inquiry.
All of this has extended the life of the Moriarty Tribunal, at significant extra cost to the taxpayer, and now raises major question marks over the credibility of any findings published by this 13-year old tribunal.
There may, thankfully, be some redress available to the hard-pressed taxpayer as the tribunal chairman, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, has the power to refuse legal costs to any party who is deemed to have impeded the work of the tribunal. Indeed, he may levy additional costs on parties whom he deems to have caused the tribunal to incur unnecessary additional costs.
So, if a compelling justification for the actions of the tribunal legal team is not immediately forthcoming, Mr Justice Moriarty might demand a refund of the relevant legal fees paid to the tribunal lawyers involved in this debacle. If Mr Justice Moriarty himself has been a fully informed participant in this matter, he may also apply the same sanction to himself.
I would also suggest that, in the absence of credible justifications being forthcoming, none of the parties involved should ever again work for the state.
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