Denis Naughten not involved in broadband tendering process, says Varadkar

The Taoiseach has defended the Communications Minister's meetings with a businessman involved in the consortium bidding for the tender for the National Broadband Plan which is worth over €500m.

Leo Varadkar says Denis Naughten is not involved in the procurement process and that he will clarify his contacts with David McCourt in the Dáil today.

He says there is protocol around how meetings should occur but the communications minister has to be able to talk to CEOs and people who might be interested in the bid process about other issues.

"Denis will be in the Dáil today so what he's going to do in the Dáil is clarify his contacts with David McCourt," said Mr Varadkar.

"Bear in mind, that meeting had officials present and it was minuted.

"What we have to get now from Denis is just a full understanding of all the contacts that he's had with David McCourt.

"Now bear in mind, the Minister is not actually involved in the procurement process."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil's communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley is accusing the Government's plan to roll out broadband of being flawed.

He says Minister Denis Naughten must explain his involvement in the process to date.

"What I have asked for - and I hope to get some confirmation on it today - is that Minister Naughten will come into the Dáil, make a detailed and clear statement about his involvement and his role in the process to date, explain what he thought he was doing in meetings with Mr McCourt, what Mr McCourt's requirement to meet him were," said Mr Dooley.

"Then, moving on to explain to us what he and Leo Varadkar and the government are going to do to about the state of the tendering process."

Digital Desk

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