Tag Archives: Catherine Murphy

Yesterday.

On RTÉ’s The Week In Politics.

Following the resignation of Communications Minister Denis Naughten, after it emerged he had met with the lead bidder for the National Broadband Plan contract David McCourt numerous times…

And the setting up of an “independent review” of the process to date to be overseen by the new Communications Minister Richard Bruton…

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy criticised the tendering process for the plan as “absolutely flawed”.

Separately…

Sean Canney, who is to be the new Junior Communications minister, told RTÉ that there was a lot of “loose talk” about the process, everyone should wait for Mr Bruton’s review to be completed, and said he believes it’s “not dead” yet.

Previously: Courting David

The Birthday Party [UPDATED]

Breaking His Own Rules

Watch back in full here

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, and minutes of a meeting between Mr Naughten and David McCourt

This morning.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy has called for time to be allocated in the Dáil this week to allow for the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten to make a statement and answer questions about the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract.

There is only one bidder up for the contract – a consortium which includes Denis O’Brien-owned Actavo, formerly known as Siteserv.

The consortium is led by a private investment firm called Granahan McCourt.

Last week it emerged that David McCourt, of Granahan McCourt, met with the Mr Naughten in New York last July.

During this meeting, Mr McCourt informed Mr Naughten that the British company SSE may withdraw from the consortium which it eventually did.

Mr Naughten also told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications last week that he had “a number of discussions with David McCourt about this project”.

In a statement this morning, Ms Murphy said:

“We know that the Minister met Mr McCourt in New York yet the version of events he gave during the Oireachtas Communications Committee hearing does not tally with the version detailed in the minutes of the meeting released by his Department late on Thursday evening last.

“Apart from that glaring variation of events, the Minister, in the committee testimony, refers to having met with Mr McCourt on the issue of the NBP on ‘a number of occasions’.

“I urgently want clarity on the nature of these discussions – particularly given the revelations of how other bidders feel they were treated during the process.”

“With the Budget consuming a lot of time and attention this week I feel it is hugely important that this vital issue is not allowed to fall of the political radar.

“We are dealing with one of the most important State contracts that will ever be awarded and any sniff of impropriety or bad governance must be met with significant urgency and robust questioning until we are satisfied the process to date has been as it should be.

“That is why I have formally requested that the Government Chief Whip provide time this week for the minister to address the Dáil and take questions – as he did last April when similar concerns were raised about his interaction with key stakeholders in a business decision his department had a role in.”

Related: State broadband bidder Granahan McCourt sued for contract breach (Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times)

Previously: “Here We Are Again”

McCourt In The Act

A ‘Robust’ Tendering Process

From top: Denis O’Brien; Catherine Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the National Broadband Plan with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and claimed there will be no competitive tendering for the plan as there is only one bidder up for the contract – a consortium which includes Denis O’Brien-owned Actavo, formerly known as Siteserv.

Ms Murphy didn’t name Mr O’Brien.

But she reminded Mr Varadkar how it was a Fine Gael Government which awarded Siteserv a contract in respect of Irish Water – with the sale of Siteserv from IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, to Mr O’Brien now the subject of a commission of investigation.

And she reminded him how it was a Fine Gael Government which awarded a mobile phone licence to Denis O’Brien’s Esat in the 1990s – a matter which became the subject of the subsequent Moriarty Tribunal.

Mr Varadkar said it wasn’t true to say there was no competitive tendering for the contract, saying there were many bidders but that it’s now down to one.

He said due diligence will be carried out.

He went on to speak about the importance of the National Broadband Plan but didn’t respond directly to Ms Murphy’s comments about Fine Gael.

She said:

“Just last week the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was scathing about the potential monopoly within the waste sector. Yet, here we are, in this process, with only one bidder.

“And even that one remaining bidding consortium has changed so fundamentally from the initial bid, it’s almost unrecognisable from the entity which first entered the process. We had Eir and Siro exit the process while Enet remained on as the leader of the remaining consortium.

“In July of this year, SSE pulled out of the consortium. Enet replaced SSE with a State-backed Irish infrastructure fund. Yet, the consortium continued to morph and just last month, it emerged that Enet is no longer leading the consortium but is a partner, alongside other companies including Actavo, formerly known as Siteserv.

So Enet, the original bidder, is now only part of the consortium which is now led by a private investment firm called Granahan McCourt.

Taoiseach, surely you have concerns regarding the process and a substantial changes that have occurred within the bidding process since it was first launched.

You must surely be concerned with the links that will inevitably be drawn between previous controversial contracts being awarded and some of the same personnel involved in this consortium.

After all, it was Fine Gael in Government, when the Irish Water contracts were awarded to a subsidiary of Siteserv which is now the subject to a commission of investigation.

“It was Fine Gael who were in Government when the second mobile phone licence was awarded to Esat which then became the subject of the Moriarty Tribunal.

And it is looking like Fine Gael will be in Government when the National Broadband Plan contract is awarded to a consortium within which the same high-profile business people are involved.

Taoiseach it is vital that this process, for awarding the tender, is above reproach. Would it not be better and more pertinent to ask the questions now before any contract is awarded to make sure that there is absolute public confidence in both the process and the outcome.

My questions are: are you satisfied that the bidding process, where there’s only one bidder involved, it will deliver broadband and best value for money?

Do you have concerns regarding the sustainability of the remaining consortium given that it has changed so much since it entered the process and who’s stable will that be into the future.

And are you satisfied that the money spent thus far, in the process have achieved the desired outcomes?”

Mr Varadkar said he was satisfied that the tendering process had been “robust”.

Previously: ‘Too Often In Ireland We Ask The Pertinent Questions After The Fact’

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

From top: Logo for Actavo, formerly Siteserv, Minister for Communications Denis Naughten

Last week Minister for Communications Denis Naughten revealed that Denis O’Brien’s Actavo, formerly known as Siteserv, was part of the final consortium bidding for the national broadband plan (NBP)

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has accepted a request to quiz Department of Communications officials on the tendering of the contract, following an appeal from Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy.

Ms Murphy has asked the public spending watchdog to ‘consider why some companies exited the tender process and also to review the circumstances which preceded the opening of the tender process’.

Ms Murphy said:

“It is absolutely fair to point out that the entire tendering process has substantially changed since it first began.

We now find ourselves in a situation where some parties have exited the process leaving only one party vying for the lucrative contract. In addition, the one remaining consortium has itself changed substantially since it first entered the process.

I also think we need explanations about the circumstances which preceded the process, including the contract for the MAN’s and how that might have affected the valuation of Enet & the State’s subsequent purchase of a large portion of Enet.

The roll-out of the NBP is the next vital piece of communications infrastructure in this country and it is vital that when the contract is awarded there are no questions left hanging regarding the robustness of the process.

Too often in Ireland we ask the pertinent questions after the fact and end up dealing with legacy issues so this time I am asking that we address those questions before the contract is awarded.”

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

Joe Mulholland launching last year’s MacGill Summer School

This morning.

On RTÉ One’s Today With Seán O’Rourke show…

Dr Joe Mulholland, director of the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, joined Mr O’Rourke, while co-leader of the Social Democrats and TD Catherine Murphy was also on the line..

Dr Mulholland was responding to criticism of the predominance of men on the summer school’s panels.

Earlier, Ms Murphy and her co-leader Róisín Shortall said they wouldn’t take part in the event this year unless significant changes are made to the gender-balance of panels across all sessions.

From the interview…

Joe Mulholland: “There’s be at least one woman on every panel I think. So it’s, I suppose, it’s, if you want to say 25% roughly. And I know that this is not enough, of course. And efforts have been made by me, over the years, to balance, to have a better balance, gender balance, but then we have other balances that we look after as well, political balance or socio-economic, political balance and so on. So I have done my best, those who are close to me, who have advised me here in Dublin, on this programme, know that every time I see them, I say ‘let’s think about women’.”

Seán O’Rourke: “Yeah, well, what do you say to the comment made by Catherine Murphy, when you say ‘finding women with the right aptitude’, she finds that very offensive.”

Mulholland: “Well I think that was a wrong, it was, a call last night, fairly late, and pretty jaded, to be honest and that was a totally wrong term to use and I apologise for that and I withdraw it. It wasn’t what I meant. Maybe the right qualifications or whatever but it’s sometimes difficult and, I mean, the amount of women, the number of women who are on the programme does not represent the number of women who have been invited on to the programme but for whatever, for different reasons, just weren’t available. This is towards the end of July.

“It’s an extremely difficult time. Donegal is still quite a remote place. And it makes it difficult for a lot of people.”

O’Rourke: “Joe I’m looking at a tweet here from Sarah McInerney, a colleague here on the Late Debate and also presenter on TV3 or their politics show. She says that ‘Let’s see, MacGill. You could replace Stephen Collins with Geraldine Kennedy; Pat Cox with Catherine Day; Stephen Donnelly with Louise O’Reilly; Phillip Lane with Shannon Donnery – that’s in the Central Bank – David Quinn with Maria Steen and Fintan O’Toole with Justine McCarthy. Now there you are: one, two, three…that’s six.”

Mulholland: “Well, it’s not just a question of replacing those people. I mean, all have been chosen for whatever reasons, but it’s not as simple as that and a lot of time goes into this, as you can imagine of trying to get a programme that’s coherent, cohesive and, above all that, reflects, reflects social and economic and political life in Ireland. And, okay, I have failed obviously from the point of view of the gender balance.”

O’Rourke: “Just on the numbers, Mary O’Regan has done a tot, she’s the news editor in the Sunday Business Post, on your website. Fifty-two speakers of whom 12 are women. Catherine Murphy, are you not running the risk now, of yourself and Róisín Shortall’s withdrawal – that’ll make the balance even worse and it could ruin maybe and if other people do the same thing a really reputable and a fine, I mean it’s been making a contribution for what – 30 years or more?”

Catherine Murphy: “Yeah, Seán, I’ve spoken at the MacGill Summer School and we were very happy to do it in the past but I think that there’s a point where you do have to make a stand on something and I’m quite sure and I know Joe will have put a huge, and his team, will have put a huge amount of effort into the summer school. I don’t disagree with that. But the gender imbalance is so significant and if we’re talking about the future of Ireland and a new Europe, the challenges ahead, that can’t be done without women.

“Because they have been, they have not played a central role in so many ways in the design of the past. Your own wonderful programme last night on RTÉ – in terms of No Country For Women – really demonstrates that that has to change. And women have to be an equal part of this narrative.”

O’Rourke: “And to go back to Joe. Joe Mulholland, is there anything you can do, at this stage, to retrieve the situation?”

Mulholland: “Well I mean this, as I said to somebody else earlier on, this concerns that area of Donegal, Sean, that you know well. I would hate to have to abandon the school altogether, it has crossed my mind, but it would be irresponsible to do that. There are people, we fill all the B&Bs around the place, people depend hugely on that bit of extra money to send kids to school in the autumn and…”

O’Rourke: “I know but I mean, so you wanted to go ahead, but could you not, I mean women can drive to Donegal just as easily as men to participate in this. I’m just wondering if you should throw your net out again, maybe cast it a bit wider and, you know, that imbalance is actually worse than 25%. I mean maybe you could get it up to 35% or 45% by inviting a few more speakers or even going for a few all-female panels.”

Mulholland: “Well, look, Seán, if you’ve a few minutes on your hands maybe, you would come and advise and do a bit of work for me. But I don’t, let me not flippant. I mean there’s certainly no policy of not having women. Last year, I was just looking at last year’s programme. There was one panel on health. One of our key sessions – there was three women out of four, including, indeed Róisín [Shorthall] on it and Susan Mitchell [of the Sunday Business Post] and Rhona Mahony [ Master of the National Maternity Hospital] of Holles Street. So, you know, I mean nobody, nobody commented on that and that’s fine. But there is no certainly no thinking on my mind of: that women are not as good as men. In fact, I think they’re superior in very many ways…”

O’Rourke: “And in fairness to you, Joe, in your long career in RTÉ, you always made sure there was a gender balance in women who got promoted to positions, be they as presenters or correspondents…”

Mulholland: “I tried to…based on ability, Sean. Never as tokenism. And, you know, I didn’t believe in the policy of positive discrimination. Nor would very many women believe in it. But certainly promoting women, where at all possible, and I think there should be far more women in politics and there are not as many as we want and need and in our different institutions – some of which have failed miserably…”

O’Rourke: “I’ve taken my eye off the clock…”

Mulholland: “…disfunctionality…”

O’Rourke: “I really have to leave it. Look, Joe Mulholland, Dr Joe Mulholland, director of the MacGill Summer School and also my thanks to Catherine Murphy, TD for Kildare North, co-leader of the Social Democrats…”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: School’s Out

From top: Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and People Before Profit TD Bríd Smyth in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon.

And further to reports that, in November 2016, the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten informed Eoghan Ó Neachtáin, of Heneghan PR which represented Independent News and Media, that he planned to refer INM’s proposed takeover of Celtic Media Group to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland…

Two months before it was publicly announced…

During Topical Issues – taken by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and ahead of Minister Naughten’s statement to the Dáil in relation to the matter which is now thought to take place around 4.30pm – Ms Murphy said the following:

“Minister, when I submitted the topical, I referred to the implications of recent and escalating developments regarding INM based on the ODCE investigation into the company.

“At the time, of course, I was referring to significant concerns regarding what can only be considered as a hacking of emails which potentially compromised huge numbers of journalists and their sources and the major implications for damage, such inaction poses the independence of media and the protection of journalism.

“But as of today, I cannot ignore the most obvious escalating development which is the involvement of the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten.

On the 6th of December 2016, he stood in this chamber and told me in response to a priority question, he had only commenced the phase one assessment on the 24th of November 2016, his officials had not yet made any decision and that he had 30 days to make a decision on three options  -one of which was  a potential referral to the BAI [Broadcasting Authority of Ireland].

He said, and I’m quoting, that he ‘hadn’t received a report from his officials yet’.

The director of corporate enforcement’s affidavit states that a month earlier on the afternoon of the 11th of November, he personally told representative from Heneghan PR that he would be referring the proposal, proposed merger, to the BAI, based on the advice of his officials.

“I note that Heneghan PR, headed by Nigel Heneghan, advisory to Leslie Buckley and spokesman for INM and also member of the compliance committee of the BAI.

So here was a PR firm employed by INM and with close ties to all the close protagonists in INM making a direct contact with a minister and being made privy to a decision which I, as a parliamentarian, weeks later, was told the decision had not been made yet.

“The repercussions for this, I believe, are stunning – not least in relation to the implications it has for the potential market manipulation and inside dealing but also for the questions it raises in regards to corporate governance and INM and the axis of power between major shareholders of INM and his department.”

Ms Murphy went on to say that Minister Naughten should recuse himself for any role in media regulation.

She added:

“I also take exception, yet again, to being misled in this Dáil when I ask a parliamentary question and I believe I was mislead in respect of those replies on the 6th of December.”

Later

Ms Smyth said:

“If the media was free, why does Ireland have a higher concentration of media ownership than most other countries with one key individual whose name can never be mentioned whether in a committee or in this chamber, owns Sunday Independent, Sunday World, Evening Herald, has a stake in the Daily Star, The Kerryman, the Drogheda Independent, the Wicklow People, the Exford People, the Waterford People, and many radio stations such as Newstalk, Today FM.

“That is power, that is control, and that is a very, very wealthy individual whose name cannot be mentioned in these chambers, who has strong links with the Irish state, so much so that every time a very important function happening like Davos, or the New York Stock Exchange, he appears with key members of this government.

“And that friendly relationship has helped him to secure influence and has continued to help it exist. That is what needs to be challenged.”

Follow the Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Denis Denis


From top: Project 2040 advertorial in Saturday’s Irish Times and Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.

Further to a Dail discussion about Government-sponsored advertorials – via the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Strategic Communications Unit – in relation to the National Development Plan being published in the Irish Independent and Irish Times

And today’s front page story in the Times Ireland edition by Ellen Coyne about similar advertorials made to look like independent news articles in regional newspapers and similar coverage of Creative Ireland last summer…

And an article in yesterday’s The Sunday Times – by Justine McCarthy – in which it was reported that financial advisor Karl Deeter and economist Constantin Gurdgiev were never told they were being interviewed for State-paid advertorials when they gave comments to The Herald for articles about the National Development Plan…

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy was asked by Mr O’Rourke about the Social Democrats’ decision to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority over paid coverage of the Government plan for Project 2040.

Mr O’Rourke also mentioned the front page story in today’s Times Ireland edition by Ellen Coyne (more below)

Ms Murphy said:

“Yes, because essentially there’s advertisements that are, there’s really propaganda. There’s a difference between journalism and propaganda and propaganda is something you pay for. The whole area of journalism is incredibly important and the fourth estate in relation to an aspect of our system that holds people to account.

“…If somebody is reading one of those papers, I mean there’s a great deal of trust in terms of regional newspapers, you know, in terms of they’re bought very often, and people feel they’re very reliable. You start interfering with you, start paying for advertisement – this is the Strategic Communications Unit…

There’s an ethical issue here and there’s an issue for the Advertising Standards Authority. If this is an advertisement, it should be marked as an advertisement. If this is genuine journalism, it shouldn’t, there shouldn’t be an issue.”

Meanwhile…

In today’s Times Ireland edition

Ellen Coyne reports:

Regional newspapers were instructed to make government advertorials look like independent stories and in some cases part of “the normal news cycle,” The Times can reveal.

Editors at several local titles raised concerns after they were instructed not to clearly mark as a commercial feature sponsored content about Ireland 2040, the national development plan.

A similar campaign for Creative Ireland, the government’s cultural programme, also banned newspapers from marking its adverts and said that newspapers would have covered the content anyway, The Times has learnt.

…The 15-person strategic communications unit (SCU) was set up by Mr Varadkar when he succeeded Enda Kenny as taoiseach. It is led by John Concannon, former head of Creative Ireland.

…One local editor told The Times: “This is fake news. Newspapers are struggling and the government know that, so they’ve got us by the balls.”

Make 2040 ads look like real news, papers told (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

UPDATE:

Following on from Ms Murphy’s comments about the Strategic Communications Unit and the advertorials, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock (above) spoke to Sean O’Rourke about the same.

Noel Rock:They’re clearly identified, from the readers’ perspective. I mean, I’ve yet to see a single example of one that hasn’t been clearly identified. All I’ve seen so far are the ones in the [Irish] Independent, in The Herald, on the Journal, which said at the top and the tail ‘sponsored content’.”

Sean O’Rourke:Maybe if we had a copy of one of those 15 regional print and online news titles, you’d get a different impression.”

Rock: Perhaps but they have yet to be produced. All I’ve seen is a trumped-up charge and a press release.”

O’Rourke: “Oh, hold on now. Trumped-up charge. That’s a pretty loaded statement. I mean you’re suggesting that there’s fake news on the front of the Times Ireland edition today?

Rock: “What I’m saying is there’s a complaint been made to the ASA about legal, decent, honest and truthful standards in advertising. And I’ve yet to see any proof whatsoever in that regard. What I do see…”

O’Rrourke: “Proof is one thing, evidence is another. I suppose it’s for the [Advertising] Standards Authority to decide which is which. We’ll leave it there for now…”

Listen back in full here

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy speaking about the sale of Siteserv in the Dáil on May 6, 2015

Yesterday.

In the Sunday Business Post.

Tom Lyons reported that the Commission of Investigation tasked with investigating the sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien, and other matters – which is being led by High Court judge Brian Cregan – has told Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy that if she doesn’t reveal her sources, “it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised” by her.

Mr Lyons reported:

The Commission wrote to Murphy earlier this month in relation to her 300-page witness statement, much of which it said appeared to be “dependent upon information and views supplied to you by unidentified persons”.

It said that the allegations in her statement and accompanying documentation appear to be based on confidential banking information about named individuals that “may have serious implications for the good name and reputation of the person or persons mentioned.”

The Commission said it was “of the view that, if such allegations, information and views are to be admitted into evidence, it will be necessary in the interests of fair procedures, and in order to protect the constitutional and person rights of the persons named, that the identity of the sources of such information and views should, in the first instance, be disclosed to the Commission.”

It said it would then consider whether such allegations, information and views should be admitted into evidence, and whether the identity of the source should be disclosed to witnesses or potential witnesses “bearing in mind the right of a witness to confront his or her accuser, where serious allegations are made against him or her.”

The Commission requested Murphy disclose the source or sources of 23 allegations made in her 300-page witness statement to the Commission as well as furnish it with six emails without redacting the name of their sender.

These allegations relate to O’Brien, Brian Harvey, the then chief executive of Siteserv, Mike Aynsley, the chief executive of IBRC and Richard Woodhouse, a senior executive of IBRC, among others.

…“The Commission is appreciative of the assistance you have provided it to date,” it said. “However, if and to the extent that sources are not disclosed and / or unredacted documents are not made available to the Commission, whether based on a claim of parliamentary privilege or otherwise, it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised by you.”

Yesterday.

On Kildare FM, Ms Murphy said:

“Yes, I received a letter from Justice Brian Cregan during the week, I think it was Wednesday. I will be taken, and have taken and will take further advice before responding in detail. Essentially, I’ve given a commitment to people who came to me with information that that would be treated in confidence. I gave them absolute assurance that that would be the case and I’ll respect that. I feel duty-bound to respect that.”

Siteserv sale probe: Murphy told she may have to reveal sources (Sunday Business Post)

North Kildare TD Catherine Murphy Intends To Stand By Siteserv Sources (Kildare FM)

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

Bringing The House Down

Yesterday’s Irish Independent; Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

On Monday.

The Irish Independent reported that Kevin O’Connell, the legal adviser to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement who shredded documents pertaining to trial of the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick – an action that contributed to its collapse – had sent emails to the Department of Jobs in 2011 complaining of a lack of resources and experience.

Journalist Niall O’Connor reported that these emails were only forwarded to the Government last month.

MrO’Connor also reported that “a report into the shortcomings of the case will confirm that Mr O’Connell has been moved out of the now under-fire corporate watchdog”.

Former Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor ordered this report shortly after the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick was acquitted.

Further to this…

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the Irish Independent story and responses that she and fellow Social Democrat TD Roisin Shortall received from the Department of Jobs.

Catherine Murphy: “Taoiseach, yesterday’s Irish Independent raised significant questions regarding the ODCE [Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement] and their handling of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial which was the longest running criminal trial in the history of the State. The public reaction to the case was a feeling of being utterly left down. People read what happened in the courts, rightly or wrongly, and as another case of people with friends in high places and the sense of punishment only being for the little people.”

“In a week where the public debate rages regarding the operation of the courts and the judiciary, it must be said that cases such as the Fitzpatrick case have a significant impact on public confidence in a system as a whole.

I want to raise with you what appears to be significant conflict in the information provided to both myself and the Irish Independent by the Department recently, when compared to information provided to my colleague Deputy Roisin Shortall in November 2015.

“Yesterday the revelations in the Irish Independent seemed to suggest that the ODCE effectively misled the Department of Enterprise and therefore, Government too, regarding their ability, or lack of ability to effectively investigate the Fitzpatrick case and provide the DPP with the evidence required to prosecute.

“On the 31st of May this year, I received a reply from the then Minister for Jobs [Richard Bruton]. That reply assured me that, in 2011, the Secretary General of two departments, in Justice and Enterprise, had met the ODCE officials and offered extra resources if needed for investigation.

The reply went on to say that the ODCE had claimed that they had no need for any extra resources. The reply clearly says that it was emphasised at the meeting that any requests for resources would be responded to positively. The reply confirms that the ODCE stressed they were satisfied with the resources that were available to them.

“Yet, in the reply to my colleague Deputy Shortall, in November 2015, it was claimed that the ODCE had flagged the need for further resources within their office, subsequent replies relating to that question indicate that there was a significant delay in meeting those resource requests – that’s obviously a significant issue in its own right.

The Irish Independent claims that the email sent internally from Mr O’Connell, in 2011, about concerns regarding the lack of resources within the ODCE to pursue the Fitzpatrick investigation were only forwarded to the Department of Jobs within the last few weeks and we need to know if that’s true. We know that Mr O’Connell had, during the course of the investigation, shredded key documents and had also engaged in coaching witnesses and that ultimately, and that and other issues, ultimately led to the controversial collapse of the case.

“The questions I want to ask are: Can you explain the conflict between the Department of Jobs’ reply in May of this year to me and the same Department’s reply to my colleague Deputy Shortall in November of 2015.

Does the Taoiseach worry that the ODCE may have concealed vital information from the outset, regarding their ability to pursue the Fitzpatrick investigation and does the Taoiseach believe the Government was misled by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement?

Leo Varadkar: “Thank you, deputy, I haven’t seen the report, it hasn’t gone to Cabinet. It hasn’t been published yet. I understand that parts of it may have appeared in a newspaper but I don’t know to what extent they are in truth or they are the full truth. And the report now has gone to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has to consider whether it needs to be redacted because, of course, individuals appear in the report and then may need to have their good name protected.”

“But once the Attorney General has dealt with the report, we will then publish an [inaudible] permission to do so and we’ll publish it with the response. At that point, I think it will be possible for the Tanaiste to answer your questions in more detail.

“What I can say is that the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement, the ODCE, has got additional resources the last year and, indeed, the office has got several additional staff and I think too often in this country, a lack of resources is used as an excuse for poor performance which is why so often additional resources don’t make any difference in terms of outcomes and performance.

“And what I’ve read in the papers is that, you know, documents were shredded that shouldn’t have been shredded and witnesses were coached that shouldn’t have been coached. I don’t know how a lack of resources causes someone to shred a document they shouldn’t have or to find the time to coach a witness they shouldn’t have coached so I think we need more and more as Government opposition not to allow people to hide behind the excuse of resources, it isn’t always the reason as to why everything goes wrong. Often, it’s not the reason at all.

“As a Government and as a Taoiseach, I’ve expressed my view very clearly that I don’t think that our capacity to respond white collar crime and corporate fraud is adequate and for that reason I’ve asked Minister Fitzgerald and Minister Flanagan to work together with their departments to develop a package of measures to go to Cabinet by the end of September which will enable us to strengthen and deepen our response to white collar crime, to corporate fraud and I think that’s necessary, I think people demand it and I think if we’ve any chance in restoring confidence in the State’s ability to deal with such issues, we need to do exactly that.”

Murphy: “Taoiseach, I know the report is gone to, I mean, is gone to the AG. It wasn’t the question I asked. I asked the question in relation to a conflict between two questions, the same, broad question that was proposed to the same department where we got two different replies, two different responses.

“In 2013, the department were made aware that the documents were shredded, 2013. And that was just before the trial commenced. And I’m sure that same information would have gone to the DPP and would we have had the longest running criminal trial in the history of the State if they had that information?

I asked you very specific information. The question, when it was posed in 2013, we were told that, the reply that I got was, if resources were requested they would be provided. Well now compare that to the reply that Deputy Shortall got, when she posed the question in 2013, and had to follow it up with other questions in relation to how many staff were there, when it was going to be augmented? It took a very long time, in fact I think it took before last year before they had their whole complement of staff, so that’s two years. Now, I asked you very specific questions in relation to how you can resolve that conflict. That’s an issue in its own right irrespective of a report going to the AG where you have a department that tells you two different things, both of them can’t be right because they’re the opposite end of the spectrum. Could you please address that issue and do you have confidence or do you believe that you were misled by the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement?

Varadkar:I don’t have an answer to that question. I haven’t any dealings yet with the Officer of Director of Corporate Enforcement. So, I can’t say they misled me because certainly I’ve had no dealings with them as Taoiseach, over the past [inaudible] days and I didn’t have in my previous weeks either so I don’t believe they misled me but if you’ve a question, ask them to the line minister, I imagine he’ll do that in the normal way…”