Sligo County Council is disputing aspects of a €5m legal costs bill being sought from the council by the owners of Lissadell, for their marathon legal action over public rights of way across the historic estate.

The Irish Independent reports that the main dispute concerns a total instructions fee for about €2.7m sought by Sligo-based McGovern Walsh & Co Solicitors, solicitors for the owners, barristers Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, following a 58-day High Court case and 9-day Supreme Court appeal.

The council contends the instructions fee is excessive.

The owners' case, initiated in 2009, incurred total costs estimated at about €7m.

The Supreme Court had in 2014 ordered the council to pay three-quarters of the legal costs incurred by the owners in the High and Supreme Courts.

The council must also pay its own legal costs bill, estimated at about €2m.

Yesterday, a hearing  - which is expected to last several days - opened before High Court Taxing Master James Behan to deal with issues arising from the owners' bill of costs.

Master Behan is first hearing submissions on behalf of the owners, and will then hear the council's response.

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