Naughten resigns: A timeline of 10 days that toppled a minister

10 days that toppled a minister (and possibly a Government):

Early October:

It emerges Communications Minister Denis Naughten met with billionaire Irish-American businessman David McCourt in New York in July at Mr McCourt's request. Officials claim broadband was not discussed.

Thursday, October 4:

Meeting minutes confirm a "brief discussion" broadband took place at the New York meeting, but that Mr Naughten did not engage in discussions. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tells reporters in Brussels there is no issue.

Wednesday, October 10:

Mr Naughten admits he "facilitated" a €37 Leinster House lunch for Mr McCourt for his daughter's birthday on April 18, which Mr Naughten did not attend.

At a subsequent budget media briefing, he admits to a further June 28 meeting, but rejects claims he should resign.

Wednesday night, October 10:

After the emergence of the second and third McCourt meetings, Mr Naughten speaks with Mr Varadkar just before midnight and says he has "just remembered" about a fourth meeting last year.

Thursday morning, October 11:

Mr Naughten tells Mr Varadkar of three more private dinners, including one organised by Mr McCourt's "personal friend", junior business minister Pat Breen, who it separately emerges has met Mr McCourt numerous times since 2016.

Thursday afternoon, October 11:

An irate Mr Naughten resigns, lashing out at Mr Varadkar who he says left him no choice.

An hour later, Mr Varadkar tells the Dáil about the four new meetings.

Thursday night, October 11:

Both Government and opposition TDs privately admit the Government may not have the Dáil numbers to survive.

This is because the confidence and supply deal with Fianna Fáil states the minority Fine Gael Government must have the support of 57 TDs.

The Government can currently rely on 56 TDs - namely 49 Fine Gael TDs, unaligned Independent TD Katherine Zappone, four Independent Alliance TDs, and both Michael Lowry and Sean Canney in opposition.

While ex-Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick, Independent TD Noel Grealish and Mr Naughten himself could give support, all three are currently sitting firmly on the political fence.


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