Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Moriarty Tribunal Report

The Moriarty Tribunal report on payments to Charles Haughey is available at

Sample News Story: :

Haughey severely criticised by Moriarty

19 December 2006 22:45
The first report of the Moriarty Tribunal has said payments received by the former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, during his political career devalued the quality of a modern democracy.
It said the late Mr Haughey lived a life vastly beyond the scale of what he earned as a public representative.
The tribunal also said the present Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, did not have any knowledge that funds were being used inappropriately by Mr Haughey.
In relation to the co-signing of cheques of the Fianna Fáil party leader's allowance account, the tribunal has said it is satisfied that Mr Ahern, who co-signed cheques of the account, had no reason to believe that the account was operated otherwise than for a proper purpose.
But it concludes that the practice of pre-signing cheques by Mr Ahern undoubtedly facilitated the misuse of the account by Mr Haughey.
The tribunal says this was a practice which has to be viewed as both inappropriate and imprudent, having regard to the nature of the account, the skills and the experience then possessed by Mr Ahern, and the absence of any internal or external audit of the account.

Brian Lenihan fund
In relation to fundraising for the late Brian Lenihan, the tribunal says that it gets 'no satisfaction' to find that Mr Haughey deliberately sought to raise funds in addition to what he knew or must have known was required to meet the cost of Mr Lenihan's treatment, and that he ultimately applied part of those funds for his own use.
The report goes on to say that no other conclusion can be reached on this matter by the tribunal in light of the evidence heard.

The tribunal found that Mr Haughey personally misappropriated one particular donation of £20,000 for Mr Lenihan's benefit and took a series of steps to conceal his actions.
In relation to the Lenihan donations the tribunal established that up to £265,000 may have been collected for that purpose and of those funds no more than £70,000 was applied in meeting the costs and expenses of Mr Lenihan's medical treatment in the US.
The tribunal says it is satisfied that a sizeable portion of the excess funds collected was misappropriated by Mr Haughey for his own personal use.

The tribunal report found that throughout the period 1979-1996 Mr Haughey lived a life and incurred expenses vastly beyond a scale of public service entitlements.
During that period his sole apparent income was used for the purpose of bill paying. After 1979 his borrowings receded and sums were derived primarily from clandestine donations, including funds intended for the medical expenses of Mr Lenihan.

Testimony rejected
Several portions of Mr Haughey's testimony are viewed as unacceptable and are rejected.
No information whatsoever relating to funds received was at any stage volunteered by or on behalf of Mr Haughey.
The tribunal has said it cannot accept his testimony that he knew nothing of his financial arrangements. Evidence that he never heard of the Cayman Islands before the tribunal is unbelievable given his meetings with Mr Des Traynor who was a regular visitor to the islands.
Evidence given by Mr Haughey to justify the acceptance of personal donations is rejected.
Aggregate funds available to Mr Haughey in the period 1979 to 1996 totalled over £9.1m - that figure excluded income or pensions or income from Abbeville.
The tribunal concludes payments were secretive, opaque, and frequently involved off-shore vehicles.

Ben Dunne
The tribunal says it identified five further payments made by businessman Ben Dunne to Mr Haughey over and above the payments identified by the McCracken Tribunal.
The Moriarty report says that, apart from the final payment of £20,000 which was lodged directly to an account in Mr Haughey's name, all of the payments were routed in the most elaborate and complex manner.
It also concludes that Mr Dunne was a courteous witness. However, the tribunal cannot accept submissions and medical reports furnished on his behalf.
Mr Justice Moriarty has said that he hopes to publish his second and final report - into payments to Independent TD and former Government Minister Michael Lowry - early next year.

LRC Consultation Paper on Multi-Unit Developments

Launch of Consultation Paper on Multi-Unit Developments

From LRC website:

"The Law Reform Commission’s Consultation Paper on Multi-Unit Developments has been launched by the Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, Michael McDowell TD. This Consultation Paper on Multi-Unit Developments deals with the law relating to apartments and other residential multi-unit developments. The Consultation Paper forms part of the Commission’s research work under its Second Programme of Law Reform 2000-2007. It also comes against a wider background of the general debate on the need for the regulation of the multi-unit development sector, which includes the publication of reports by the National Consumer Agency and the Auctioneer/Estate Agency Review Group in recent times.

"One of the striking features of housing in Ireland in the past decade is the huge rise in the number of residential multi-unit developments. The ownership structures of these developments are markedly different from more ‘traditional housing’; in multi-unit developments, the unit owners collectively comprise the membership of a management company which owns the structure of the development as a whole. An estimated 500,000 people now live in apartment blocks and similar developments, the design of which necessarily requires a high degree of interdependence between residents. The growth of the multi-unit development sector has not, however, been accompanied by corresponding progress in the law surrounding such developments. The Commission has proposed a number of provisional recommendations in relation to the sector.

Press Release:

Full report:

LRC Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law


Monday, 18 December 2006: The Law Reform Commission’s Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law will be formally launched by the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, this evening.

Background to Report
This Report forms part of the Commission’s Second Programme of Law Reform 2000-2007, which deals with ‘Vulnerable Adults and the Law’ under two related headings: the law and older people; and the law concerning adults whose ability to make decisions may be limited, for example, through intellectual disability, dementia or an acquired brain injury (such as in a car crash). The Report brings together these two areas and builds on two Consultation Papers published by the Commission, a Consultation Paper on Law and the Elderly (2003) and a Consultation Paper on Vulnerable Adults and the Law: Capacity (2005). The Report contains the Commission’s final recommendations on these areas and includes a draft Scheme of a Bill to implement them.

Main elements of the Report
The Report is divided into two parts. The first part recommends the enactment of a new mental capacity law to create clear rules on when a person has the legal competence (capacity) to make a wide range of decisions, including making contracts such as buying groceries at a shop, transferring ownership in land or making healthcare decisions. The second part recommends that the current Wards of Court system should be replaced by a new Guardianship system.

Empowerment and protection
In the Report, the Commission aims to promote the empowerment of vulnerable adults, while also recognising that some protections are still needed. In terms of empowerment, the Commission recommends that the proposed law should include a clear presumption that all people over 18 should be presumed to have mental capacity. The Commission also recommends that a modern “functional” approach to legal capacity should be put in place. The functional approach means assessing a person’s decision-making ability in relation to a particular decision at the time the decision is made.

Protection: equity release schemes
But the Commission also recognises that vulnerable adults may still need protection against abuse. For example, the Commission has recommended that all types of equity release schemes – many of which are aimed at older people – should come under IFSRA, the Financial Regulator. Some equity release schemes have been designed so that they are not financial products, so that IFSRA cannot currently regulate these types of schemes.

Healthcare decisions and informal authority to act
The Commission also makes specific recommendations in the healthcare context. At present, many routine health care treatments – such as dental treatment – are carried out for adults who have limited or no capacity on the basis of "consent forms" signed by a relative. These consent forms have no legal standing, and technically they could be regarded as assaults. The Commission recommends that this should be dealt with by stating in the proposed law that such routine treatments are lawful if they are clearly in the person’s best interests: this is called an informal authority to act. The Commission also recommends that the Minister for Health and Children could appoint a Working Group on Capacity to Make Healthcare Decisions to formulate a code of practice for healthcare professionals. The code of practice would provide guidelines on assessing a person’s capacity to make a healthcare decision and on the situations where treatment can be carried out under the proposed informal authority to act.

Enduring powers of attorney
The Enduring Powers of Attorney Act 1996 allows a person who currently has mental capacity to appoint someone (such as a spouse or partner) to make decisions on their behalf: the power of attorney only comes into force when the person loses capacity, for example, through dementia. The 1996 Act is currently limited to financial matters only. The Commission recommends that the 1996 Act should be extended to include minor health care and treatment decisions.
Guardianship system to replace Wards of Court The current institutional framework for protecting people with limited (or no) mental capacity – the High Court Wards of Court system - is also in need of reform. The Wards of Court system is governed mainly by the
Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871, which states that a person can only be made a Ward of Court if they are a deemed to be a 'lunatic, idiot or person of unsound mind.' As well as using objectionable and outdated language, the Wards of Court system uses an "all-or-nothing"
approach to capacity: if the person is made a Ward of Court, they lose control over all aspects of their financial and personal life. The Commission recommends that this system should be replaced by a new decision-making structure, called Guardianship. This would involve the creation of Guardianship Board, which would make decisions about whether a person does or does not have continuing capacity to make key decisions about themselves. This could include deciding that a Personal Guardian should manage a limited aspect of the person’s financial affairs, but not necessarily everything. The Commission also recommends establishing a new independent Public Guardian.

The new Guardianship system
The Guardianship Board would be a three person full-time multi-disciplinary Board (along the lines of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission), chaired by a High Court judge. The Board could make Guardianship Orders and Intervention Orders. Where a Guardianship Order is made, a Personal Guardian could be appointed over the property, financial affairs and welfare of a person who lacks capacity, whether in a limited way or more generally. An Intervention Order would be made for a specific purpose (such as ordering a once-off service), where a Guardianship Order would not be required. The Commission also recommends the establishment of the Office of Public Guardian, which would have a supervisory role over personal guardians and those acting under enduring powers of attorney. The Public Guardian would also have the power to develop and publish suitable codes of practice and have an educational role in this area, acting in cooperation with other bodies, including the National Disability Authority and the Health Service Executive.

Full text of report:

Statute Law Database - UK

The UK's Statute Law Database is now available to the public at

This includes Northern Ireland Statutes
E.g. Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

An important feature of the database is that it includes many amendments to older legsialtion within the text.
For example, if you look at article 5 of the
Treatment of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1976,
the version you'll see is the version as amended by subsequent legislation passed in 1978 and 1989.
The amendments are clearly noted in the footnotes and highlighted in the body of the text.

The electronic Irish Statute Book ( doesn't currently include this facility but it may come in a future version.

At least the electronic Chronological Tables, which include references to amendments up to 2004, are available:

Extract from a Help File:

"Types of Legislation on the UK's Statute Law Database (SLD):

"SLD is the official revised edition of the statute book for the UK in electronic form. When we use the term "statute book" in the context of SLD, we mean, broadly speaking, primary legislation of a public general nature.

"Most types of primary legislation made in the UK are held on SLD in revised form. Other primary legislation and secondary legislation from 1991 onwards is held on SLD only in unrevised ('as enacted') form.

"For pre-1991 legislation held and revised on SLD, the earliest version is the revised text as it stood at 1 February 1991 (the basedate). Legislation wholly repealed before the basedate is not carried.

"SLD has now incorporated the revised primary legislation of Northern Ireland previously published in The Northern Ireland Statutes Revised and its supplements. As the historical versioning of the Northern Ireland statutes will date only from 1 January 2006 (the Northern Ireland basedate), the unrevised ("as enacted") versions of these statutes enacted from 1991 to the end of 2005 will continue to be retained on SLD.

"We are still in the process of loading the unrevised legislation mentioned above onto the new SLD system. For information about the progress of this exercise, see New Legislation.

"Details of the legislation held on SLD are as follows:

Primary Legislation (Revised)
Primary Legislation (Unrevised)
Secondary Legislation "