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£1 billion 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.

Data Access Requests To Multiply Under GDPR: Office Of The Data Protection Commissioner Emphasises Co-Operation & Preparation

With the rules and penalties around data subject access requests becoming stricter under GDPR, businesses need to prepare themselves to be able to handle an expected spike in requests.

Digital Age of Consent for Children's Data Set to Be 13

The Irish Government has agreed on the digital age of consent for access to internet services without parental approval ahead of the new EU data protection regime coming into force next year.

Irish Data Protection Commissioner Warns of GDPR Storm on the Horizon for Small Businesses

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has called on small businesses to begin preparations for new EU data protection rules before it is too late.

UK law clarifies 'Unjustified Threats' across Patent, Trade Mark and Design Law

New UK Intellectual Property Act brings more clarity to what can constitute a "groundless" or "unjustified" threat when it comes to enforcing IP rights.

EU's Top Court Clarifies 'Legitimate Interest Test' for Data Processing

The CJEU has ruled that, in certain situations, public authorities may not be able to rely on the 'legitimate interest' justification for processing data

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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 - Public Sector 


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 - Public Sector


Sources say "the lawyers can pull in all the firm's resources, and are commercially minded and responsive."
Chambers Europe, 2014 - Dispute Resolution

Sources say: 'William Fry always delivers, and will always exceed our expectations.'
Chambers Europe, 2012 - Dispute Resolution


William Fry is one of Ireland’s ‘most efficient and competent firms’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2012 - Public Sector



Carol Plunkett
Carol Plunkett has ‘great instincts’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 - Intellectual Property


Clients feel Carol Plunkett "has a very good grasp of the brief and the workings of our business. She gives practical, straightforward advice."
Chambers Europe, 2014 - Intellectual Property

Carol Plunkett is regarded as “a lawyer with a long-standing reputation as one of the best.”
Chambers Europe, 2013 - Intellectual Property


William Fry’s Carol Plunkett is a 'star of the Irish IP fraternity'.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2013


Carol Plunkett complements her reputation as one of the leading IP litigators in the market with a substantial regulatory practice, and comes highly recommended by her clients.
Chambers Global, 2012


Liam McCabe
"If we need anything done, we turn to him. He makes sure that we are provided with the expertise we need in the field." 
Chambers Europe, 2015 - Projects & PPP


Liam McCabe has particular expertise of the construction aspects of projects mandates. He recently acted for Dublin City Council on the PPP accommodation project at Herberton, Rialto PPP.
Chambers Global, 2014 - Project & PPP

Liam McCabe is praised for his “willingness to get involved and help resolve situations before they become full-scale disputes." He leads the construction team and represents high-profile clients in the public and private sectors, including Tesco and Liberty Mutual.
Chambers Global, 2013

Clients say Liam McCabe is 'a tough character who really understands the issues we are putting forward and formulates his advice in relation to them.'
Chambers Europe, 2012


Liam McCabe ‘provides first-class service’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2012


Alicia Compton
Alicia Compton is 'a leading employment lawyer’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 - Public Sector


Alicia Compton recently advised B&Q Ireland on the employment issues surrounding its entry and subsequent exit from examinership. "She knows her law backwards, is very considered in everything she does, and thinks things through from start to finish," say clients.  
Chambers Europe, 2014

Alicia Compton elicits sterling praise from clients: “She is a valuable adviser who understands the context in which we operate. She can head problems off.” She has notable experience in advising on the employment aspects of corporate restructurings and M&A.
Chambers Europe, 2013


Clients note Alicia Compton 'is a great asset. She has a deep understanding of our needs and will anticipate all the issues that could affect us'.  
Chambers Europe, 2012


'Alicia Compton has few peers.'
Legal 500 EMEA, 2012


Alicia Compton can lay claim to being ‘the best employment lawyer in Ireland’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2011


Cormac Little
Department head Cormac Little is ‘a recognised expert in the field’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 - EU & Competition


Department head Cormac Little has recently been representing ASICS in the defence of an abuse of dominance allegation brought by Heatons. "In merger cases, you feel sure he will handle the case very well," say clients.
Chambers Europe, 2014 - Competition 


Cormac Little handles merger control, competition and public procurement. “He is great at dealing with clients and other firms – it is a real pleasure to work with him,” says a source. Little recently advised FÁS on EU and Irish law public procurement requirements.
Chambers Europe, 2013

Cormac Little is held in high regard by sources. He 'literally wrote the book on public procurement'.
Chambers Europe, 2012


Cormac Little is ‘business-friendly yet meticulous’.
Legal 500 EMEA, 2012

Key Contacts

Alicia Compton Partner

Cormac Little Partner

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