Friday 23 March 2018

Now losing bidders will ask court for right to take action

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

TWO unsuccessful bidders for the State's second mobile phone licence will ask the Supreme Court tomorrow to allow their multi-million euro compensation actions against the Government to proceed.

The attempted revival of the actions by losing bidders Persona and Comcast comes after the Moriarty Tribunal found former Communications Minister Michael Lowry assisted businessman Denis O'Brien in his successful bid to secure the licence for Esat Digifone.

The awarding of the second GSM licence remains the most lucrative licence ever awarded in the State.

As the fallout of the final report of the Moriarty report continues, the Chief Justice, Mr Justice John L Murray, is expected to set a date for an appeal by losing bidders Persona and Comcast. Persona and Comcast are challenging an earlier decision by the High Court to halt their multi-million euro legal cases against the State.

Persona sought substantial damages from what the consortium claimed was "dishonest assistance" for Esat Digifone.


Comcast said in the High Court proceedings that while it believed that the competition was "wrongful" at the time it was making its bid, the consortium said that it could not establish key facts because it did not have access to details of the tendering process.

Three years ago High Court Judge Mr Justice Paul Gilligan ruled that there was an inordinate and inexcusable delay by Persona and Comcast in bringing and prosecuting their actions.

In his ruling, the judge said that given this and other factors, the balance of justice required the cases should not be permitted to proceed.

Judge Gilligan said that both consortia had adopted a "a wait and see" tactic that had resulted in an inexcusable delay in bringing proceedings against the State.

The Persona consortium included a number of parties, including Motorola, at the time of the licence contest but it is now owned by Sigma Wireless Networks -- a company owned in equal parts by Tony Boyle and Michael McGinley.

Comcast formerly included a number of parties, but is now understood to be owned by businessman Declan Ganley, whose company, Ganley International, was an original member of the consortium.

Irish Independent

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