Eyre Square legal costs is money disappearing into a ‘black hole’, says Mayor

If the Galway City Council is intent of taking its case against Samuel Kingston Construction to the Supreme Court, then the Mayor of Galway is entitled to know why and how much the legal fees are costing the city.

This is the view of Mayor Padraig Conneely who has written to the city manager Joe MacGrath demanding the information, after his motion demanding such details was passed at Monday’s city council meeting.

At the meeting Mayor Conneely called on council officials to give the elected members “a full update” on the recent High Court judgement on Galway City Council v Samuel Kingston Construction and Jeffery F Hawker, and on the council’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

He asked on what basis the council was proceeding with its appeal to the highest court in the State, given that it had lost the High Court case. He asked for the financial implications of the appeal and the total costs to date.

On Tuesday Mayor Conneely wrote to Mr McGrath requesting a copy of the legal advice indicating the grounds for an appeal to the Supreme Court; an estimate of the costs of such an appeal; the total cost to date of arbitration and solicitors’ fees; all monies paid to Samuel Kingston Construction and SIAC; the current status of the €1 million bond from Samuel Kingston Construction; and what has the next module of the arbitration process recommended.

“This is very serious,” the Mayor told the Galway Advertiser. “City Hall lost the arbitration and lost the High Court case. Why should they now want to go to the Supreme Court? If you’ve lost in High Court it’s very difficult to win in the Supreme Court.”

Mayor Conneely said that he wanted to know the costs as he is concerned that it is money being wasted.

“We’re throwing good money after bad,” he said, “and other councillors are saying this too. It’s all disappearing into a black hole.”

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