Nine people were paid a total of €33m for work on the Moriarty Tribunal, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee has heard.

The nine, comprising three senior counsel, as well as junior counsel, solicitors and legal researchers, earned an average of €3.76m.

The three senior counsel - John Coughlan, Jeremiah Healy, and Jacqueline O'Brien - earned around €25m between them.

The figures were revealed by newly-appointed Department of the Taoiseach Secretary General Martin Fraser, who was giving evidence to the Committee.

The figures related to legal fees paid over the entire 14 years of the tribunal.

Third party cost claims of €1.8m have been received by the Department, but have so far not been paid out.

Mr Fraser is to write to the Moriarty Tribunal to seek an up-to-date position on submissions made for the awarding of third party costs.

The request was made by PAC vice chairman Kieran O'Donnell.

The PAC was concerned about the scale of the financial contingency on the State to meet third party costs, which the Comptroller and Auditor General has previously estimated at up to €80m.

Mr O'Donnell stressed he did not want to interfere with the independence of the tribunal.