Minister Naughten to answer questions in Dáil on Celtic Media and INM

Minister Naughten to answer questions in Dáil on Celtic Media and INM

Communications Minister Denis Naughten will take questions in the Dáil today over his contact with a PR agency over the proposed take over of Celtic Media by Independent News and Media (INM).

The main opposition parties in the Dáil have now queried whether the contact was “proper” and said the communication was “extremely troubling”, possibly breaching market regulations.

It was reported that the minister communicated with an executive for PR agency Heneghan and that this information made its way to businessman Denis O'Brien, a major shareholder in INM.

The minister reportedly advised that the proposed takeover would be referred to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, but that this was conveyed to the PR executive two months before being made public.

The director of corporate enforcement has reportedly raised concerns about the commercial details being made available to shareholders.

Taoiseach Leo Varakdar told the Dáil this morning that he believed the minister had done nothing wrong but it would have been preferable the conversation had not taken place.

It has now been agreed that Minister Naughten will take questions in the Dáil later today, after Fianna Fail, Labour and Sinn Fein all raised questions about the reported contact.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin asked was it "normal practice" for a minister to inform a company of commercially sensitive information

The National Union of Journalists have also issued a statement, raising questions about the contact.

Labour's Brendan Howlin, using Dáil privilege, suggested the minister may have shared inside information to a company shareholder.

He also queried if this had been a breach of EU law.

Mr Varadkar also revealed that the minister had contacted him last night and explained the situation, ahead of a newspaper story being published today.

The Taoiseach also claimed that the minister had acted on the advise of his officials at all times.

Mr Varadkar also said that Minister Naughten had not given out confidential information.

The issue is set to dominate Dáil proceedings for the day now.

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