‘543,000 Families And Businesses Do Not Care What Name Is On The Side Of The Van’


From top: Denis O’Brien; logo for Avctavo, formerly Siteserv; Minister for Communications Denis Naughten in the Dáil yesterday


In the Dáil.

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten confirmed that, earlier that morning, the remaining bidder in the national broadband plan procurement process had submitted its final tender to his department.

This is the only bidder left in the process.

Mr Naughten told the Dáil:

“Bidders wishing to participate in the ongoing NBP procurement process had to pre-qualify in order to participate in that process. Only those bidders that could demonstrate they had the necessary economic and financial standing, together with the required technical and professional capability, were allowed to participate in the procurement.

A single bidder scenario does not change this and the remaining bidding consortium has had to meet the relevant thresholds set out for the procurement process.

“Up until the point where the procurement was about to enter its finals stages, there was a competitive process.”

Further to this confirmation, Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley told Mr Naughten:

The Minister has only one bidder left in the process. He has no plan B…  Earlier this year, Professor John FitzGerald, speaking in respect of State contracts, stated: “If there is no queue of suppliers there will be no savings for the State.”

I told the Minister a year ago that if one was going to the market to sell a calf, a bullock or anything else, if there was only one buyer, one would be better off turning around and bringing the bullock back home. The Minister knows that is the case, as someone who is living in a rural area.

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley asked Mr Naughten to confirm the identity of the bidder, as, he said, other bidders – including Eir, Vodafone, the ESB, SSE and John Laing Group – had in recent months pulled out of the process.

Mr Naughten confirmed the bidder is a Granahan McCourt Capital-led consortium.

Mr Naughten told the Dáil:

The 543,000 families and businesses do not care what name is on the side of the van. They want and deserve high-speed broadband and I am determined to ensure they get it.

Further to this, Granahan McCourt Capital yesterday released a statement, saying businessman Denis O’Brien-owned Actavo, formerly Siteserv, is a member of the consortium making the bid.

Good times.

O’Brien’s Actavo joins bid for €1bn broadband contract (Peter O’Dwyer, Times Ireland edition)

Previously: ‘Why I’m Apologising To The House’

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30 thoughts on “‘543,000 Families And Businesses Do Not Care What Name Is On The Side Of The Van’

  1. phil

    I care,

    So another tribunal in a few years time …

    Ive been watching this for a while , and it was smelly as fup ..

    Whatever the agreed contract , I guarantee you the winning bidder will be back more more cash 1/2 thru the project

    1. Giggidygoo

      The related posts above shine a very bright light on Naughten, and his dealings with a related business.

    1. Giggidygoo

      Yep, and a 25 year contract to boot. (or Jackboot perhaps?) Isnt Redacted some lucky eh? The original consortium of Enet though has had some dramatic changes since first entering the tender process.
      I eagerly await Cian’s take on this one.

      1. Cian

        I think they should just pull the contract.

        Fupp the culchies. If they want internet – pay for it themselves.

          1. Giggidygoo

            We probably will get the ‘I apologize – i didn’t mean to put a label on people living in the countryside – I was just trolling another poster – some of my best friends are farmers’ lines shortly.

          2. Cupofteaanyone

            Well the bidders had to pre qualify,
            I would love to see a list of the people who didn’t make the cut but wanted to, and the reason they failed.

        1. Giggidygoo

          So, pull the contract – and your only reason is ‘fupp the culchies…etc.’.
          I knew your take would be enlightening.

          1. Giggidygoo

            @Cian. I take it FG haven’t issued an instructional memo yet on how to deal with the fallout from this. Poor alright. Maybe try a few lies, deflections or your apologist coat.

  2. Andy Moore

    Treasonable & Prosecutable under Emergency Power legislation I think ? Known inveigler & corruptor of Data maybe & allowed access to every single file & transaction of 543’000 households ?? Ah now what’s the story ??

  3. Ian-O

    100% – Naughton has form when it comes to saying things to people that he shouldn’t and we can be reasonably certain he didn’t learn any lessons and why should he when there is no sanction for his sort of behaviour.

    Watch these proceeding carefully – [REDACTED] is fast on his way to being a paper billionaire only so he will need as many contracts from his pet Taoiseach and party to ensure he is able to maintain that rather corpulent figure for some years to come.

    We are literally watching yet another government f*ck up in real time here folks.

    Naughton is a busted flush, but so long as we have brain dead voters we will have brain dead TD’s.

  4. Trueblueterry

    I’m confused with what the issue is here? Are companies owned by him just allowed to ever bid for anything again? It is not as if this tender isn’t open to any other company to make a bid so why are we claiming there is some form of corruption in respect of him making a tender?

  5. johnny

    Dennis O’Brien is under significant and very real financial pressure,local papers in his primary markets have started to focus on the cash stripping (over 1 Billion) via special dividends from Digicel.The Digicel bondholders have retained a very prestigous law firm to negotiate on their behalf,inspectors are in INM.

    Given the imminent default/bankruptcy off his primary telco company,the extremly credible allegations of corporate malfeasance and fraud at INM,is there no ‘suitability’ or ‘fitness’ requirements for govt tenders/work ?

    A few recent pieces on Dennis O Brien,one form Beesley in the FT (paywall) is quite good, it focuses on INM/Digicel and his financial difficulties.

    ..this quote will haunt Dennis….

    “According to the banker, however, Mr O’Brien has stressed very heavily that bondholders are not being asked to accept a principal haircut or reduced coupon payments. “All that’s being asked is really a two-year extension.”


    Greenslade in The Guardian on Sunday mainly focuses on INM and Gemma :)

    “There is an uncomfortable cosiness about the relationship between the main political parties in Ireland and the major journalistic outlets. At the same time, there is a growing concern about the Irish media’s parlous state of economic health. Together, these quite separate forces amount to an existential crisis for Irish journalism.”


    1. scottser

      fair play johnny – keep it up lad. i know your posts don’t garner much by way of commentary but i find the links very useful.

        1. johnny

          Thanks scottser,i’d much rather have an ‘edit’ function than comments (bodger?)

          Quick update on Digi-the reason I say that comment will haunt Dennis is that it effectively rules out a tender for (DLLTD 8.25% 2020) which have been trading at sub 70 (low 62).This bond is 2 Billion and a tender offer at say 80 would have saved Digi 400 million !

          It is/was a remarkably stupid comment from someone apparently so sophisticated and his bluster/ego just doesn’t work in NY-he’s basically a nobody here.


          Where’s the equity Dennis-the failed IPO was an attempt by Dennis to inject some badly needed equity into Digi,after Dennis stripped out over 1 Billion in dividends which is now the focus off many bond holders ire.

          Without a significant equity contribution from Dennis,he’s going to be redundant at Digi.

          1. Giggidygoo

            Bodger. The Edit button is missing on IOS devices, but is available on Android. Also, on IOS, when you post a comment, the text remains in the posting box, so before you can post another comment, you have to delete your last text from the posting box.
            Johnny – this was being teed up for Denis. The under-explain3d dropping out of other bidders, who were just as professionally qualified as the current consortium (which changed members recently, and with the recent addition of Actavo), is worrying. Why would make two major groupings of players drop out, both with a lot of experience in the area, while this one containing Actavo one jumps at the chance?

          2. Johnny

            I haven’t really followed this that closely,it’s my understanding the entire process has been fatally flawed.Was there any cost benefit analysis done or equivalent study,from the little reading on this I’ve done it appears to be a “pork barrel” project for rural FG TD’s.
            Naturally if one their own gets wet his beak,even better….
            I did notice Davy’s advised SiteServ and was the subject of astounding findings in Kelly’s decision,regarding statements made by Les that they could get any valuation they wanted from Davy’s !

          1. johnny

            I should probably back up that Davy/INM statement !

            Siteserv was an extremely unorthodox and unusual deal some may say it was just downright weird they excluded any ‘trade’ buyers”, in other words anyone else in this space was excluded from buying or bidding on it – huh !

            One the more controversial issues was the 5 million divided up amongst shareholders/management while the state literally took a bath via Anglo/IRBC on its loans, advised by Davy !

            “On the controversial payment of €5m to shareholders in Siteserv, the department said “arguably no payment should have been made to shareholders” given the position the company was in.

            They question whether it was correct to accept advice from Davy’s Stockbrokers on this given they were advisers to Siteserv.”.


            LCD-did a fabulous summary on here regarding the Kelly/INM judgement-I extracted (copied/pasted) the section previously on Davy.

            In effect Les claimed that any discrepancy in valuations could be sorted with Davy’s, immortalized in a quote thats reminiscent off the Bailey brothers one regarding bribing FF TD’s-“do you not get it lads” !

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