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Friday 23 March 2018

Sparks to fly in Dail ahead of debate on report fallout

Michael Brennan and Fiach Kelly

THE DAIL debate on the Moriarty Tribunal report will take place today and tomorrow -- but a huge row is likely to kick off before it gets under way at 5pm.

Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the technical group are almost certain to ask that Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other members of the Cabinet who served with Michael Lowry in the Rainbow Coalition are made available to answer questions.

The various party whips have to finalise the structure of the debate, but it is likely that statements only will be allowed.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte -- whose department was responsible for the second mobile phone licence competition in 1995-1996 -- will take questions towards the end of the debate tomorrow.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will make the opening statement on the report, and is expected to focus on the need for political reform in his speech. Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and the technical group's Joe Higgins will then respond.

Mr Lowry says he will speak in an extended slot but the Government last night insisted this had not been finalised. Mr Lowry has been granted permission to respond to the entire debate.

It is not yet clear who else will speak during the debate, but there will be major pressure on ministers who served in the Rainbow Government to explain how, according to the tribunal, Mr Lowry bypassed them in the competition process. There will also be pressure on Fine Gael to speak about the party's fundraising at the time.

Irish Independent

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