Attorney General Paul Gallagher speaking to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee outside a Cabinet Meeting in Dublin Castle yesterday

This morning.

The Attorney General who advised the Government against a rent hike freeze is also a landlord, the Irish Mirror has learned.

The AG is required to disclose to the Taoiseach interests which could “materially influence you in or in relation to the performance of your official functions”.

Via The Irish Mirror:

Paul Gallagher is listed on the Residential Tenancies Board register as the owner of a five- bedroom house in Milltown, Dublin, along with his wife…

This is separate from the family home, which is located in leafy Ballsbridge, and another property that Mr Gallagher owns in Kerry.

A spokesman for the Attorney General told the Irish Mirror: “The matter was fully disclosed to the Taoiseach and the Cabinet.”

Attorney General who advised Government against rent hike freeze is also landlord (Ferghal Blaney, The Irish Mirror)


34 thoughts on “Freeze

    1. Rob_G

      Yes. Also listed in the public RTB register.

      I imagine that close to 100% of lawyers over 55 own a property portfolio, so you would be hard-pressed to find an AG that doesn’t own several properties.

    2. GiggidyGoo

      It’s a conflict of interest though, and Micheal Martin should have had the sense not to appoint him, if he knew it.

      1. Rob_G

        An AG could be called to give advice on sorts of issues, there is no way of accounting for every potential conflict of interest. What if an AG had to give some advice on some law relating to property tax on a PPR; if you were to apply your reasoning to its logical conclusion, anyone who owned their own home would be disqualified from holding the position of AG.

          1. Rob_G

            Ok – find me a legal professional who (i) has sufficient experience to be an AG, who (ii) doesn’t own a 2nd property; I sincerely doubt there would be many.

          2. GiggidyGoo

            C’mon Rob – ‘I doubt there would be many’ ? That isn’t even an excuse. Many may own 2nd properties, but may not be landlords (which is the crux of the matter)

            The other thing is, and this is a quote from a government spokesman “The Taoiseach was made aware and the matter was fully disclosed to him in advance of Monday’s cabinet meeting,”. That suggests to me that MM didn’t know the situation when he appointed the AG. Yet again MM being made to look quite a fool

      2. Broadbag

        Hogwash, if he’s properly qualified for the role the fact that he owns a few houses shouldn’t be an issue, as Rob_G says, it would be a narrow field you’d be appointing from in that case.

        1. goldenbrown

          nah, that’s a load of my arse Broadbag

          some kind of inner self Chinese Wall theory? I don’t believe his view would be unbiased, not for a nanosecond, this specific scenario IS most definitely a big fat conflict of interest

          conflict of interest = flawed advice

          1. Rob_G

            Again – how are you supposed to appoint an AG who has zero potential conflicts of interest?

            If an AG was called to give advice on something related to pensions, then the government of the day would need to find a lawyer who had made zero savings for their retirement to give advice(?)

            Seriously, some BS commenters just see the word ‘landlord’ and start foaming at the mouth.

          2. Cian

            undeclared conflict of interest = flawed advice

            Once the conflict is disclosed you take that disclosure into account when you listen to the advice (or you get them to recuse themselves if the conflict is too great).
            That is literally why you need to disclose conflict of interests.

          3. Termagant

            There’s some conflicts of interest you can avoid and some you can’t. It seems not unreasonable to ask to avoid the ones you can.

          4. Cian

            I agree It seems not unreasonable to ask to avoid the conflicts of interest you can.

            The AG is employed to give legal advice to the government. Historically this means 3-5 years of advice on any and all matters that arise in those years. Nobody could do this job without a conflict arising at some stage – the current issue would exclude any landlords OR tenants. If there is advice needed on home ownership (I’m sure this was a hot topic over the last 10 years) – this would exclude home-owners too. So all of a sudden the “perfect” AG must no be a home-owner, a landlord, or a tenant.

            So you do two things.
            1. get people to declare any potential conflict of interest. And you can then listen to the advice knowing that it may be biased; OR
            2. if the conflict is so great (in this example if the AG owned a large portfolio properties) they recuse themselves.

      3. sidhe

        that’s true, but the point of the article is to question whether his interest as a landlord interfered or conflicted with his role as AG insofar as he was required to make a decision/give advice which affects many, and not just his own interests. it casts doubt on whether the advice given was in I a see or motivated by self interest

        1. Broadbag

          It’s clear that a rent freeze on the one or two properties he rents out isn’t going to make a dent in the earnings of someone at the level of the AG, if he had a portfolio of 20 or 30 abodes, then I could see an issue.

          1. sidhe

            a five bed property in Dublin would yield a rent of several thousand per month, even factoring in the taxes payable on that income and property. it is still a decent bit of money, but I agree – to someone on AG money, it probably wouldn’t be as relevant as it would be to the average landlord.

          2. Broadbag

            And it’s a rent ‘freeze’ not a rent removal, so we’re only talking about a potential increase, of what, a couple of hundred a month max?

          3. Cian

            Since there is a 2% limit on increases, if the monthly rent is currently €5,000 you are talking a max increase of €100/month.

          4. GiggidyGoo

            But isn’t that the problem Cian? There is a freeze on rents that the AG (who is a landlord) is advising no rent freeze, then that does compromise him.

    3. Ron

      Not surprised you all don’t understand the problem with this. IT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST OF SIGNIFICANCE.

      It shows more incredibly poor judgement from Mícheál Martin. A bit like appointing convicted drunk drivers to Cabinet.

      Why do we have such legislation requiring people to disclose conflicts of interest if the decision makers don’t take into account the conflicts of interest that are disclosed.

      Micheal Martin is out of his depth. Every day since he has been in office, we have seen poor judgement, bizarre decision making, embarassing U turns, a Govt in chaos and the House of Cards is crumbling all around them.

      This Govt will be gone before Xmas and they know it. Leo is banking on that opinion poll showing FG at 38% being a reality and we will be at the polls quicker then everyone thinks.

      I’m sure Mícheál Martin is a nice person on an individual basis, but he is just lacking in any sort of ability to do the job required. He is very representative of Ireland; Mediocre to below average at best in everything he does

      1. Broadbag

        I’m the opposite of a Martin fan, but he has done zero wrong here, some are just looking for any excuse to bash him by failing to see the bigger picture, you want some robot AG with zero conflicts of interest, so zero worldly goods (or relatives) who rises from his or her slumber when called upon to give perfectly impartial advice? What utopian nonsense is this?

        Landlord = bad, rabble, rabble, rabble, is all I’m seeing here, please explain how to improve the system, how to find this truly impartial wonder, never before found in the real world?

          1. Broadbag

            The perfectly impartial person you yearn for doesn’t exist. What’s your solution?

  1. Joe

    All the political appointees at that level also e.g. the director general’s of gov departments are carefully selected to keep the status quo (gravy train) going for the wealthiest. Anyone who voted FFGG, voted to keep a hideous 2 tier society going.

  2. Vanessanelle

    Being a landlord is probably an essential requirement

    I think it would be in all our interests to know how these conflicts are managed by the Cabinet

    Like a conflict of interest register record
    And noted into the minutes

    And was the advice given with that conflict made clear to all the cabinet members who have a vote

    And was a secondary opinion provided from senior officials in the AGs office

    1. Cian

      I presume the second opinion should have to come from someone with the opposite bias – a tenant.

      1. Vanessanelle

        Someone qualified to make that opinion

        We do it regularly in the CU Movement, get external opinion on matters for the Board, in addition to our own legal department / internal expert advice
        ie Rule Changes

        As we are all members of individual Credit Unions and a rule or Regulatory change may impact our own separate common bonds, in different ways, there is – albeit immaterial in the broader Cooperative Movement, there is still conflict present

        Particularly back in our own CU Board room, in my case I declare and abstain on the vote, a case in point might be changes to our Insurance offerings.

      1. sidhe

        if he disclosed it and MM accepted it then MM is an even greater wally than I originally thought him

  3. Paulo

    All seems a bit OTT to be honest.

    Paul Gallagher SC is a very successful barrister with a long career behind him and I seriously doubt if he would be making risky decisions to make an extra couple of hundred euro a month. Maybe if he owned 50 apartments or something.

    More importantly, I expect the majority of posters won’t understand the role of the AG in matters like this. The AG doesn’t advise the govt on “political” or policy decisions. The AG is there to advise the govt whether something is legal, constitutional etc. Essentially the Minister tells the AG “I want to do X – is there any reason I can’t do this under Irish law?”. AG answers yes or no. He doesn’t say “I think it would be an excellent idea to allow landlords raise rents”, he says “This is not illegal”.

    1. Johnny Green

      i agree-one his three houses is only a holiday home FFS,for me i’d like know the law firms his 3 sons work at,we all know his wife is also a barrister-just a lot Chinese walls that have be specially built….around him.
      for example i would expect his advise on anything the govt is planning regarding medical cannabis or related-are any his 3 sons working or partners at any the major Dublin law firms representing BigAg and Big Pharma,skin in the game little things like that….

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