“The Minister can’t have been so politically naïve as to ignore the implications of the changes to the consortium advised to him during the New York dinner.”

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions and Freedom of Information requests today, following up on the concerns she raised in the Dáil last Tuesday regarding the conduct of the Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten TD, during the National Broadband Plan bidding process.

Deputy Murphy said revelations that the Minister had attended a dinner with the head of the only remaining consortium in the bidding process raised serious questions regarding the governance of the process.

Deputy Murphy commented:

“The Minister wants to pretend that the bid was only briefly discussed at the dinner. The facts are that the head of the consortium advised the Minister of significant potential changes to the bid and the Minister in turn advised the bidder how to proceed.”

Deputy Murphy noted that the bidder recorded the dinner with the Minister on the lobbying register therefore proving he perceived the dinner as a lobbying exercise.

Deputy Murphy continued: “when EIR & ESB exited the bidding process they cited ‘repeatedly highlighted’ governance and regulatory issues and I think in the context of the revelations this week regarding the Minister’s interaction with other bidders, we need to know what these governance issues were. For that reason, I have submitted a number of FOIs and PQs to the Minister seeking substantial information on the engagement and communications with all parties in the process, now and in the past.”

“The Minister can’t have been so politically naïve as to ignore the implications of the changes to the consortium advised to him during the New York dinner.”

ENDS

4th October 2018