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Expensive dinners… October 11, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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First point where I thought Dennis Naughten might be running into trouble was when I read in the IT this morning:

One Cabinet member said the “drip feed of information” on meetings between Mr Naughten and David McCourt was “not helpful”.

That it took the Taoiseach to note that this was far from the end of it when he made a statement to the Dáil after the resignation of Naughten, that there were multiple other dinner meetings, is something of a surprise. What is most striking is that this wasn’t made clear from the off or that the former Minister would not have noted just how sensitive this issue was – indeed M Martin made a point along those lines in the Dáil later this afternoon.

And one point, talking to people directly after the resignation there was a sense ‘why?’ and that there must be more. And there was.

Naughten was famously one of the brightest youngish Fine Gaelers and then famously one of the brightest Independents. If he were in a party there’s a chance this might blow over and he’d return to Cabinet sooner or later. But as an Independent that may not be the dynamic. And how he walked into this eyes open is difficult to understand. It’s certainly a lesson to all those who think being policy oriented is enough in politics. Without a core ideology and a deep deep scepticism directed towards business ‘interests’ all the policy orientation in the world won’t be enough.

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1. CL - October 11, 2018

“”The decision by Fianna Fáil to privatise the provision of high speed broadband lies at the heart of the ongoing problems.
“Sinn Féin has said for years that it could have been completed quicker and cheaper by the state.
“Privatisation has meant that delivery of such a key service was always going to be at the mercy of personalities, profits and politics.
“A new way needs to be found and state involvement should be seriously considered. We still have well over 1.1 million people waiting on broadband service they need to access state services and to participate in the digital economy.”
http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/51247

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2. CL - October 11, 2018

“The real risk for the Government centres on the Granahan McCourt consortium. The firm is an investor with no direct experience of building such a complex piece of infracture. Also because the consortium has been chopped and changed so much, the possibility of a legal challange by one of the firms dropped earlier in the process is now a possibility”
https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/explainer-broadband-and-naughten-s-new-york-meeting-1.3656864

‘THE Irish-American businessman at the forefront of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan tender bid has insisted that selling his 22pc stake in the bid’s lynchpin telecoms firm, Enet, will not weaken his involvement in the government-funded rural broadband scheme.
David McCourt, CEO and chairman of Granahan McCourt, said that the sale of his stake in Enet to the state-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund does not alter his “commitment” to the tender bid.’
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/mccourt-enet-sale-wont-affect-rollout-of-broadband-plan-37396963.html

.’McCourt is on the University College Dublin Smurfit business school advisory board and also JP Morgan Chase’s. He is also estimated to be worth $1 billion.’
https://www.irishcentral.com/news/buffet-pal-and-us-billionaires-shop-for-distressed-businesses-in-ireland-145898895-237439191

David McCourt is a pragmatic businessman and has no ideology.

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3. 1729torus - October 11, 2018

How could Denis Naughton be so stupid? He must have understood that FG would have had no choice but to throw him under the bus if this ever came out?

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2018

+1

Met the guy a few times. Always struck me as clued in and efficient. And even allowing for the points made above in the OP I’m baffled by what has happened. This was elementary stuff, as you say, FG would run like feck away from him if there was a sniff of trouble particularly after all the hassle in April.

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2018

Though just to be clear, clearly not as clued in and efficient as was thought to be.

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4. Joe - October 11, 2018

Public services are bloated, ineffective and inefficient. The private sector is dynamic and delivers. For example, the rollout of broadband in rural Ireland.

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GW - October 12, 2018

Indeed. “Stands to reason…”, “experience has shown…”, “the economic consensus is…” etc.

What did this private rollout purport to intend to deliver? Not decent affordable broadband for culchies, finally?

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GW - October 12, 2018

I know that culchies can’t be trusted with the internet. They’d probably press the red button on the top and turn it off.

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5. CL - October 13, 2018

Another fine mess made by ‘privatization is best’ ideology.

‘ If the State hadn’t sold the telecoms network as part of the Eircom sale in 1999 it might all have been different….
This is not about who wins the deal, as there is only one bidder left…
the terms of the deal see the winners taking ownership of the network after 20 years’
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/cliff-taylor-time-for-a-plan-b-for-rural-broadband-1.3661603

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6. CL - October 14, 2018

‘The Irish Infrastructure Fund acquired 78 per cent of Limerick-based Enet, which operates the State’s Metropolitan Area Networks, in August 2017 in a deal that valued the company at up to €200 million..
..
Granahan McCourt paid a reported €43 million for Enet in 2013…
.
https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/state-backed-fund-takeover-of-enet-adds-twist-to-broadband-process-1.3655812

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CL - October 14, 2018

“The Irish Infrastructure Fund provides institutional investors globally with a unique opportunity to invest in the Irish infrastructure sector. The fund focuses on infrastructure assets being privatised by the government and commercial state enterprises, privately-owned infrastructure assets and new investment projects.”
https://www.ampcapital.com/europe/en/investments/funds/infrastructure/irish-infrastructure-fund

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