David McCourt, left, and Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen
In the Sunday Business Post.
Hugh O’Connell reported:
Fine Gael junior minister Pat Breen held a number of previously unreported meetings with David McCourt who is heading up the last remaining bid for the National Broadband Plan (NBP), The Sunday Business Post can disclose.
Breen met McCourt on three occasions in 2016 including at a breakfast meeting in the Merrion Hotel.
The Minister of State with responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection has also visited McCourt at his home in Co Clare on several occasions “in a private capacity” over the last two years.
Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy
Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy lodged an official complaint with the Ceann Comhairle’s office, claiming Mr Breen refused to answer, within the specified timeframe, a parliamentary question she had asked regarding his engagements with David McCourt and bidders in the National Broadband Plan process.
Ms Murphy claims her question should have been replied to by Thursday evening last (October 18) but it wasn’t, while he separately provided answers to a journalist.
Ms Murphy said:
“The parliamentary questions process is a vitally important one and that it might be circumvented in any way is a cause of grave concern.
“It is exceptionally unusual for a PQ not to be replied to within the specified timeframe and for me to then see that the same Minister has spoken with a journalist on the topic whilst neglecting his duties under the parliamentary questions process is hugely frustrating.
“I have lodged a formal complaint with the Ceann Comhairle regarding Minister Breen and his Department’s actions in this regard and I await a reply. It is vital that the PQ process is respected by all Ministers and Departments no matter how unsavoury the answer they have to give might be for them personally.”
Previously: Courting David