Tag Archives: Denis O’Brien


Sadly two of those featured, Michael Lowry and Denis O’Brien, are both still with us.

Communicorp, the radio group owned by Denis O’Brien, has agreed a sale of the company to UK group Bauer Media Audio for an undisclosed sum

This morning.

Via Newstalk:

Bauer Media Audio has today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Communicorp Group subject only to regulatory approval.

The group comprises of Ireland’s only two national commercial radio stations Today FM and Newstalk, alongside local stations Spin 1038 and 98FM in Dublin, and Spin Southwest in Limerick, as well as leading digital radio sport station Off The Ball, digital audio exchange audioXI and aggregated listening platform GoLoud.

Bauer Media Audio has today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Communicorp Group (Newstalk)





Last night.

Previously: Siteserv on Broadsheet

Excerpts From the Programme for Government published this afternoon

‘Red On Green’ writes:

Surprised to see Eamon Ryan has no issue with the National Broadband Plan, according to the draft programme for government. Green members must see this is a very questionable deal at best, not least because it once again rewards Denis O’Brien with a state contract….

Programme for Government

Previoulsy: The Plan: Save Denis

National Broadband Plan


The Beacon Hospital, Dublin (top) owned by Denis O’Brien

Yesterday evening.

Tom Lyons, in The Currency, reported:

It was responsible for signing a deal that saw Ireland’s privately owned hospitals temporarily taken over by the state as Ireland desperately tried to increase its healthcare capacity as Covid-19 reached its shores in March.

Now, however, the Beacon Hospital, owned by millionaire businessman Denis O’Brien, has decided to leave the Private Hospital Association (PHA) with immediate effect and manage its own future negotiations.

The move has caused consternation among fellow hospital owners involved in the group.

The Beacon has made it clear to other members that it will no longer rely on the PHA when negotiating any future contracts with the state in relation to Covid-19 or any other matter.

Stress fracture: Beacon Hospital exits private hospital alliance in wake of state takeover deal (Tom Lyons, The Currency) [behind paywall]

Tuesday: The Cost Of Going Private


Private hospital owners Larry Goodman (left) and Denis O’Brien

The nationalisation of our private hospitals to increase capacity in the midst of a pandemic was a bold and well-intentioned initiative.

However, given the improving Covid-19 picture, now is the time for the Government to back out.

The current scheme will worsen inequality, not improve it, due to the opportunity costs involved.

We are haemorrhaging money that could otherwise be spent on social services, public housing, primary care, or an economic stimulus for the 28 per cent who are unemployed.

Distributing resources to these areas reduces health inequalities more effectively than elective operating theatres. We are propping up the private hospital system to the benefit of the institutions involved, not the Irish public.

Dr Diarmuid Sugrue,
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,

Funding the private hospitals (Irish Times Letters)

Yesterday: 115 Million A Month

Previously: €44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April


Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly (top) Larry Goodman Above left) and Denis O’Brien

This afternoon.

Fianna Fail TD Stephen Donnelly pursues the governmetn the cost of leasing private hospitals during Covid-19.

In April, the state paid €115 million for mostly unused private beds from the Bon Secours health group,, Denis O’Brien’s Beacon Medical Group and Larry Goodman’s Galway Clinic among others.

In The Dáil last week, RISE TD Paul Murphy TD raised the discrepancy between the €44,000 paid per bed in Ireland and the €10,000 paid per bed in Britain.

Good times.

Last week: €44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April


From top Health Minister Simon Harris; Larry Goodman (left) and Denis O’Brien

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Rise TD Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health Simon Harris about the cost of leasing private hospitals during Covid-19.

They had this exchange:

Paul Murphy: “I want to ask the Minister about the cost of the private hospitals. The Taoiseach confirmed to me two weeks ago an estimated cost of €115 million per month for the leasing of the private hospitals.

I then later asked the Minister for Finance why we are paying more than four times as much per bed as they are in the UK, which he was not able to answer.

“I then wrote to the Minister for Finance, copying to the Minister for Health, seeking the publication of the final agreements with the individual hospitals, a detailed breakdown of the €90.2 million which has been already given to the private hospitals and asking him again to explain the discrepancy between the €44,000 paid per bed in Ireland and the €10,000 paid per bed in Britain.

“I will give one example as to why we need to see these figures. The Beacon Medical Group was bought by Mr Denis O’Brien for €35 million, according to The Irish Times. If they get €44,000 a month for 200 beds, the State will have paid more than €35 million in four months but will not own a bed at the end of that process.

“Can we get the full final agreements? Can we get a breakdown of the costs so that we can see if there is profiteering going on?

Simon Harris: “I thank Deputy Paul Murphy. I have done everything I can to be transparent in relation to this.

“First, payment will be on a cost only open-book model whereby the hospitals will be reimbursed only for the operating costs properly incurred during the period. The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital.

“Since the rationale for the arrangement relates to the Covid-19 pandemic for which no one can provide a definitive time horizon, it is not possible to indicate a precise cost estimate attaching to the arrangement but the final cost will be verified by an independent firm of accountants appointed by the HSE and the private hospitals. There is also an arbitration mechanism in place in the event of any disagreement.

Under the heads of terms, private hospitals are funded to 80% of their estimated monthly costs in advance by the HSE.

As the Deputy says, €90.2 million was advanced to the hospitals for April.

We will independently verify that and claw back if we find any issues as we audit it. This will continue to be examined by a committee of public accounts in due course and will be subject to the normal scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and I lay an agreement before this House.

Murphy: Directors’ pay at Beacon in 2018 was almost €1 million.

“Are we paying the directors’ pay? Are we paying the bloated pay of the CEO on top of that? These companies often officially claim to be making no profit but make intra-group transfers through transfer pricing, interest payments and fees to other companies owned by the same person.

“With that in mind, are we paying for any rents or interests to Mr Denis O’Brien, Mr Larry Goodman or any of their companies?

Specifically, do the payments we are making include rent or interest payments made directly or indirectly to companies owned by Mr Denis O’Brien or Mr Larry Goodman which are registered in Luxembourg in order to avoid paying tax?

Harris: “I will ask for the HSE or the Department to respond to the Deputy in writing on this matter in the coming days.

“I want to be clear that nobody is meant to be profiteering as a result of this. The whole purpose here is to ensure that nobody can make a profit and we pay solely according to the cost-only open-book model.

“We were in a very lucky position to be able to acquire the use of these facilities. Thank God we have not needed to use their ICU capacities yet. The HSE will respond directly to the Deputy in the coming days.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Denis O’Brien in Haiti in 2010

Rating agency Fitch is expressing the view that Caribbean telecoms giant Digicel may be unable to repay debt due this year, even as it gets a 30-day grace period for interest payments on US$2.9 billion worth of debt.

Expressing the view that, “this debt is not expected to be repaid”, Fitch points out that the default will stem from heightened uncertainty related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Via The Irish Times:

Businessman Denis O’Brien’s heavily indebted Digicel revealed on Thursday that it is looking for creditors to write off $1.7 billion (€1.55 billion) of what they are owed, as the phone group has been left with an unsustainable debt file following years of earnings decline.

The move would reduce Digicel’s total debt by almost 25 per cent from $7 billion currently.

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel seeks $1.7bn debt write-off (The Irish Times)

COVID-19 pressures Digicel (Jamaica Gleaner)




Covid-19 Step Down facility, Citywest, Dublin.

Clive Woods tweetz:

“Denis O’Brein’s company???”

Yesterday: Conference Call

Previously: A Step Down


This morning.

Davos, Switzerland.

The Irish Times reports:

European commissioner for trade Phil Hogan has stepped in to address business leaders attending IDA Ireland’s annual dinner at Davos this week, as the Irish contingent at the World Economic Forum (WEF) is shaping up to be the smallest in recent times.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had been due to host the IDA dinner on Thursday for 40-50 international executives at the Swiss Alpine village, but this was cancelled last week as he called a general election for February 8th. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe also cancelled his planned appearance as the campaign got under way.

WEF regulars Bono and Denis O’Brien will also not be attending this year, according to their representatives.

Phil Hogan to address business leaders at IDA event at Davos (Joe Brennan, The Irish Times)



A new report by Oxfam has found that Ireland has 17 billionaires – the fifth highest number of billionaires per capita in the world.

Oxfam launched the study ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos which begins later today.

In its summary, Oxfam writes:

“Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people.

“This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world.”

The report can be read in full here