Wednesday 18 January 2017

September Sunday when big game brought the main players together

Liam Collins tells how an invitation to the All-Ireland final led to a now-famous meeting in the hospitality area

Published 27/03/2011 | 05:00

Dermot Desmond earned £108m (€123) from the deal which saw Esat Digifone win Ireland's first mobile phone licence. Photo: Tom Burke
Dermot Desmond earned £108m (€123) from the deal which saw Esat Digifone win Ireland's first mobile phone licence. Photo: Tom Burke

ON THE night of Saturday, Sept-ember 16, 1995, financier Dermot Desmond flew into Dublin to attend the All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Tyrone in Croke Park the following day. It was to be a brief visit; he stayed overnight at his home in Ailesbury Road and his departure slot was arranged for 8pm on Sunday.

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Budding telecoms tycoon Denis O'Brien had flown in on a scheduled flight, arriving in Dublin at 1.45am on Sunday morning and went straight to his home on Wellington Road, Dublin 4.

Early on Sunday afternoon, Padraig O hUiginn, the former senior civil servant Charlie Haughey had entrusted to work with Dermot Desmond to get the IFSC up and running in the Dublin docklands, picked Denis O'Brien up at his home and they drove to Croke Park. Mr O hUiginn, retired from the civil service and a director of O'Brien's company Esat Digifone, was also chairman of Bord Failte and had two tickets and a special parking permit to get him right into the stadium.

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