A solicitor who was hired by the Ceann Comhairle, in an attempt to prevent the Sunday Tribune from publishing details of his expenses, was appointed to four separate state bodies by John O'Donoghue while he was in office.

It has emerged that Gordon Holmes, the chairman of the firm that prepared the legal threat, was originally appointed as a member of the Garda Complaints Board in February 2000 before being named chairman in April 2002.

The appointment came two months before O'Donoghue was moved from the Department of Justice to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, where he amassed enormous travel expenses.

A year earlier Holmes had been appointed chairperson of the Interim Parole Board, a position he later took on when the Parole Board was created and the interim board ended.

In November 2000, Holmes had also been appointed chairman of the Commission on Liquor Licensing. All three appointments were made while O'Donoghue was a minister.

When O'Donoghue was moved to Arts, Tourism and Sport in a reshuffle, he again appointed Holmes to chairmanship of a state body, the Betting Appeals Board.

During O'Donoghue's time in office, Gordon Holmes also served as chairman of the Turf Club's referral and regulations committee, appointed by the Turf Club.

Horse Sport Ireland also appointed him as chairman of an expert group set up to examine doping in the Irish equestrian sector.

According to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, Holmes served on the Bookmakers' Appeals Committee during the period from 1994 to date, where he was paid IR£1,000 a year as well as travelling expenses.

In a letter to the Sunday Tribune by Holmes, O'Malley and Sexton, John O'Donoghue accused the newspaper of having "fundamentally misled the Irish people". O'Donoghue provided no further details on how the public were "misled" before being forced into two public apologies last week as a result of overseas expenses of more than €550,000.

A fellow member of the committee from 1994 to 2003 was Kate-Ann O'Donoghue, the minister's wife. Neither of them was appointed by O'Donoghue, who was not in government at the time of the original appointment.

Further details of O'Don­oghue's travel expenses – as Ceann Comhairle – are expected to be made public this week. In a second apology on Wednesday, O'Donoghue said: "I have instructed officials... to place in the Dáil library – as soon as practicable – the records of all travel, accommodation and related cost incurred and paid since I was elected Ceann Comhairle."

The documents had already been sought by the Sunday Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act and had a deadline for release on 25 September. This means the documents will be made available just a day or so before they would have to be released publicly under the FOI Act.