Business Technology

Sunday 16 December 2018

'I'm not out to make a quick profit' - head of consortium bidding to land National Broadband tender

David McCourt
David McCourt
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

The head of the consortium bidding to land the National Broadband Tender says accusations that he is a recently-arrived financier seeking to make a quick profit from Ireland’s broadband crisis are wrong.

David McCourt, who runs Granahan McCourt, told Science Foundation Ireland’s Science Summit conference that he is a dual citizen in Ireland and the US and pays tax in both countries.

"I’m not a private equity guy, I’m a telecoms builder," he told the audience in a Dublin conference centre.

"I’ve owned a house in Ireland for 20 years, not recently as it says in the paper. I sold two businesses in Ireland and used that money to invest in starting two other businesses in Ireland. I’ve never taken a penny out of the country or used the money to invest in other countries."

Mr McCourt was speaking as the government awaits an audit report on whether the National Broadband Plan’s tender process was unduly influenced by meetings held between Mr McCourt and the former Communications Minister Denis Naughten. The report from consultant Peter Smyth is expected this week.

The government is currently considering alternative options if the audit report concludes that the tendering process was “contaminated” by inappropriate contact between the lead bidder and the Communications Minister.

Opposition parties have suggested that state utility firms such as the ESB, Bord an Mona or Ervia might be used as an alternative means of delivery for the rural broadband rollout, which is planned to reach 540,000 homes and businesses, affecting over 1m people.

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