Ireland has never accepted the Commission's analysis in the Apple state aid decision and is challenging the Commission's decision before the European courts. An application to annul the Commission decision was lodged with the General Court of the European Union. The case was granted priority status and the confidential written proceedings have taken place in private over the last number of years. The oral hearing took place in the General Court of the European Union on 17 and 18 September. The timing of the judgment is entirely at the discretion of the court.
However, it will most likely be several years before the case is ultimately concluded. We fully respect the judicial process and, as can be expected, have robustly defended our position throughout it.
Over the past seven years, approximately €7.5 million, including VAT, has been paid for external services relating to the case, of which approximately €3.9 million relates to the recovery process. This includes all legal costs, consultancy fees and other associated costs. These fees have been paid by the Department of Finance, Revenue Commissioners, NTMA, Central Bank of Ireland, Attorney General's office, and Chief State Solicitor's office. The cost of legal fees is lower than the total cost as other fees, such as those relating to translation services, are not included.
Five companies are covered by the Deputy's question on legal fees and the companies and firms to which the fees have been paid. The approximate totals paid to each of these to date, inclusive of VAT, are as follows: William Fry, €3.2 million; McCann Fitzgerald, €523,000; PwC, €611,000; Baker McKenzie, €148,000; and Hogan Lovells, €3,900. The total paid to external individual counsel engaged is approximately €2.8 million. As the Deputy will be aware, while I previously provided details of payments to individual counsel, I am no longer in a position to do so, based on legal advice provided to my Department. It is not possible to determine future costs of the case. However, as it is an important issue for the State, the case will continue to be resourced as needed.