Public Sector

We have a strong record of acting for government departments, state and semi-state bodies and local authorities. The William Fry Public Sector Group is multi-disciplinary in nature, ensuring that we provide the public sector with practical advice and expertise on a broad range of issues including:

  • Public procurement and projects
  • Public private partnerships
  • Employment and pensions
  • Corporate governance
  • Regulatory issues
  • Judicial review
  • Data protection
  • Freedom of information
  • EU/Competition law
  • State aid

We understand the particular challenges and demands placed on the public sector, and that its actions are subject to a level of scrutiny (and sometimes, challenge) that does not apply to the private sector.

Our recent experience of advising the public sector includes:

  • NAMA, the National Asset Management Agency established to deal with aspects of the banking crisis in Ireland – we have secured a significant and innovative role including in relation to the structuring of NAMA. 
  • ESB, the Irish Electricity Supply Board, on its Stg£1bn acquisition of Northern Ireland Electricity plc. 
  • Department of Finance and Department of Health & Children on competition law and state aid and other issues concerning VHI.
  • Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government on tenant purchase and incremental purchase schemes for local authority apartments and houses.
  • ComReg, the Irish Communications Regulator, on regulatory enforcement matters.
  • Commission for Aviation Regulation on the successful defence of claims by Ryanair.
  • Railway Procurement Agency on a multi-year agreement with IBM for the build, support and maintenance of Ireland’s new integrated ticketing system.
  • An Bord Gáis, the Irish Gas Board, on the procurement and financing of a serviced site in County Cork.
  • Bord na Móna plc, the Irish Peat Board, on the establishment of an employee share ownership plan.
  • FÁS, the Irish state agency for national training and employment, on employment and pensions law, and trade mark protection and enforcement matters.
  • Irish Takeover Panel on compliance with takeover rules.
  • Irish Stock Exchange on compliance with rules by members and on drafting of new rules.
  • Revenue Commissioners on the consolidation of the Stamp Duty Acts.
  • The National Dairy Council on implementing new marketing and communications programmes.
  • Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Irish sea fisheries board, on website matters and electronic commerce advice.
  • University College Dublin on its Gateway development which uses a PPP model and is the largest capital project ever undertaken in the Irish higher education sector.
  • Fingal and Louth County Councils on the design, build and financing of several major infrastructural projects.

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  • William Fry provides "exemplary" service to public sector clients across a range of areas, including finance, utilities and education. Legal 500 EMEA, 2017
  • William Fry is "unrivalled in value for money, and always thorough in its analyses." Legal 500 EMEA, 2016 
  • William Fry’s service levels ‘are second to none’.  The firm is advising the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board on the New Children’s Hospital of Ireland.
    Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • William Fry’s ‘advice is always practical and its response times are second to none’. The firm advised on the investment by private investors in the NAMA structure; and assisted ESB in relation to the development of its new headquarters. Carol Plunkett’s team includes Liam McCabe, Myra Garrett and David Cullen. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014 
  • Sources say "the lawyers can pull in all the firm's resources, and are commercially minded and responsive." Chambers Europe, 2014


  • Claire Waterson
    • According to clients, Claire is "very cool and measured, with a real conciseness in how she thinks about issues." Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Claire is ‘very knowledgeable and has a good relationship with the regulatory authorities’. Chambers Europe 2017 
    • Clients say Claire has a "very smart, analytical brain, and is good on the nuances of EU directives." Chambers Europe 2016
    • Clients consider Claire a "competition specialist - very smart, client-friendly and able to solve problems"  Chambers Europe 2015.
    • Claire "pays exceptional attention to detail". Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • Clients say, Claire "is always a pleasure to work with. Her advice is always precise, clear and to the point."  Chambers Europe 2014
    • Claire Waterson is "tremendous: responsive, clear and pragmatic. She is the reason I keep going back to the firm." Chambers Europe 2013
  • Shane Kelleher
    • Shane "is very approachable, has much knowledge in his field and always provides comprehensive, informative responses to any queries we have." IFLR 1000 2017
  • Carol Plunkett
    • One interviewee calls her "a real heavyweight"  adding: "Nothing fazes her, so that is reassuring for the client." Chambers Global 2017
    • One source explains: "She brings a whole wealth of experience to the table and is a doyenne of Irish IP law." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Clients describe Carol as having ‘an amazing IP knowledge base’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Carol is highlighted by market commentators as an "extremely accomplished lawyer" and "a leader in IP litigation."  Chambers Europe 2016
    • "She's one of the most experienced litigators in Dublin. Having dealt with cases across a huge spectrum, nothing will phase her at this stage." Another comments: "She is practical and knowledgeable, and understands commerciality. She manoeuvres around the issues very smoothly." Chambers Europe 2015
    • Carol Plunkett as a "seasoned litigator". Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Carol is described by clients as "hands-on and accessible, with excellent communication. She instils this culture in all her team and keeps everyone up to speed."  Clients feel "she has a very good grasp of the brief and the workings of our business. She gives practical, straightforward advice." Chambers Europe 2014
  • Alicia Compton
    • Alicia is ‘one of Ireland’s leading practitioners’. Chambers Europe 2017 
    • Clients comment that Alicia has "intricate knowledge of our business and backs us proactively at every turn. It's almost like she is a part of our company, rather than an external provider. Fantastic!". Chambers Europe 2016
    • Alicia's  "keen legal brain and common sense result in excellent outcomes". Legal 500 EMEA 2016
    • Alicia is described as "highly knowledgeable, and consistently willing to consider a variety of viewpoints to ensure that her advice is fit for the particular circumstances."  Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Alicia is ‘practical and incisive’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Alicia "knows her law backwards, is very considered in everything she does, and thinks things through from start to finish," say clients. Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Garrett Breen
    • The "excellent" Garrett Breen handles a range of disputes, and is noted by sources for his knowledge of the technology and telecommunications sectors. Clients say he provides a "no-nonsense approach and sound insight." Chambers Global 2017
    • Garrett Breen is described as a ‘very practical adviser’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Garrett is well positioned for major litigation cases, as he is "a good organiser of large litigation teams and well equipped for the logistics of the largest, most complex litigation."  Chambers Global 2016
    • According to interviewees, Garrett "is a determined, smart guy, who is absolutely dedicated to his clients." Chambers Global 2015
    • Garrett Breen is ‘first-class’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Garrett is a "fierce litigator" according to one source and clients agree they "trust him to always deliver." Chambers Global 2014
    • Garrett has ‘a phenomenal strategic mind’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014 

Key Contacts

Claire Waterson Partner

Carol Plunkett Consultant

Shane Kelleher Partner

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