Wednesday 23 August 2017

Moriarty report hit by fresh delays

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE long-awaited report by the Moriarty Tribunal now faces further delays after two senior officials from the office of the Attorney General were called to give fresh evidence.

Denis McFadden and John Gormley will testify at public sittings following repeated requests by several parties that the tribunal hear more evidence on the circumstances surrounding legal advice given to the office of the AG by senior counsel Richard Nesbitt, it has emerged.

The two officials worked closely with Mr Nesbitt who was commissioned by former attorney general Dermot Gleeson to give legal advice to then communications minister Michael Lowry in 1996, after officials raised concerns about the changed ownership and share structure of Esat.

Competition

This was shortly before Denis O'Brien's Esat Digifone won the competition for the lucrative mobile phone licence.

The officials are expected to give evidence about their role and understanding of Mr Nesbitt's supplementary oral advice, in addition to his principal written advice.

The Department of Communications had taken exception to the tribunal's description of Mr Nesbitt's evidence regarding undocumented oral briefings as "not credible".

Mr Nesbitt had advised that Mr Lowry should "not drag his feet" in issuing the licence.

Irish Independent

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