Kildare County Council's headquarters at Aras Chill Dara
Kildare County Council has paid out over €4.7m in legal fees since 2014, much of it to locally-based legal firms.
During last year alone, the legal bills amounted to €1.48m.
The figures were obtained as part of a request for records held by KCC, under the Freedom of Information Act. KCC was requested to provide its total legal costs for 2014, 2015, last year and to date this year.
The cost of legal transactions in 2014 alone amounted to €1.21m. These rose slightly to €1.28m in 2015. The figure provided by KCC to date this year is €750,700.
A large portion of the money was paid to Osbornes Solicitors and over the period these payments amounted to some €838,000, while some €754,000 was paid to Wilkinson and Price.
The sums reflect the range and frequency of business undertaken by KCC in a county with a growing population and huge demands on services. KCC declined to comment any further on the figures or the reasons for seeking legal advice.
The figures also appear to include payments made to barristers and some consultants for services provided. A spokeswoman told the Leader that the legislation does not allow for further clarification or information — other than through an internal review pro cess.
However it is clear that KCC has to take legal advice and go through legal procedures on many of the day to day functions it has to perform. The largest single item to appear in the list for this year so far is to James Harte and Son (almost €191,000).
James Harte and Son also received €22,800 in 2014, €110,500 in 2015 and €294,000 in2016.
Dublin law firm A & L Goodbody received €511,000 over the three and a half year period. McCann Fitzgerald solicitors received €344,000. Another Dublin firm, Malcolmson Law, received €124,800. Michael O'Neill Solicitors received €95,500. Newbridge firm Coughlan White O'Toole received €50,600. Another Newbridge firm Burns Nowlan solicitors received €17,800.
See full list below: