“The Minister, despite prolific spinning and semantics about his various dinner dates with David McCourt and family, has not defended his flagrant breach of his own Department’s protocols.”

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy has said that Minister Naughten’s vague and often contradictory explanations regarding his actions in the NBP tendering process are insufficient and raise even more questions.

She said the denial of any discussions with David McCourt regarding the tender is not only difficult to believe; it is a direct contradiction of the Minister’s own testimony to the Oireachtas Communications Committee.

In addition she reiterated the point that the Minister had, by his own admission, directly contravened both the procurement guidelines and his Department’s own Communications Protocol document which was drafted specifically to regulate the NBP process.

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon Catherine Murphy TD said:

“It is interesting that the Minister, despite prolific spinning and semantics about his various dinner dates with David McCourt and family, has not defended his flagrant breach of his own Department’s protocols.

“I believe he has not addressed this issue because there is no way for him to do so without acknowledging that he has, without question, broken the specific rules governing the tender process and has therefore fundamentally compromised not only the process but himself and his Ministerial office.

“I have reiterated my request to the Business Committee that the Minister be brought before the Dáil tomorrow to make a statement and to take questions on the issue. I believe it is imperative for everyone to understand why, for the second time in a year; Minister Naughten appears to believe that the rules governing a process do not apply to him.

“We know from a parliamentary reply to me that Minister Naughten briefed Taoiseach Leo Varadker in September 2018 and so I think it’s important that we hear if the Taoiseach was made aware at that stage of the Minister’s repeated breach of the protocols throughout the process. I am also interested to hear if his cabinet colleagues are comfortable with his laissez-faire attitude to departmental protocols.”

10th October 2018