Irish Attorney takes cut

THE NEW Irish Attorney General, Dermot Gleeson, has suffered a substantial drop in salary by taking the job.

As the government's legal adviser, he will now earn IRu76,000 a year, less than a quarter of his estimated annual income as one of the sharpest minds of the Irish Bar.

Gleeson, from Cork, has been involved in many of Ireland's biggest cases. A workaholic, he is widely admired by his colleagues. He was called to the Bar at 22 and to the Inner Bar eight years later.

In a case against the Wellcome Foundation on behalf of an Irish boy who was brain damaged by a faulty whooping cough vaccine, he won a record settlement of IRu2.75 million. He also forced a change in Irish legislation by winning married couples the right to be taxed separately.

His appointment to the job was no surprise. He is an old friend of the new Irish Prime Minister, John Bruton.

The previous Irish Attorney, Harry Whelehan, forced to resign as High Court president by the political crisis within days of his promotion, has returned to practise at the Irish Bar. Barristers voted by a five to one majority to approve his return.