Denis Naughten resigns as Minister for Communications

Denis Naughten has reportedly resigned as the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment this afternoon (Thursday, October 11).

The now former minister was scheduled to clarify issues surrounding the tendering process of the National Broadband Plan.

It is understood that deputy Naughten – who represents the Roscommon-Galway constituency – outlined in his resignation speech that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, did not have confidence in him in his ministerial position.

Opposition TDs are now calling on Taoiseach Varadkar to appear before Dail Eireann to answer their questions regarding the National Broadband Plan – which remain unanswered – and to clarify how deputy Naughten resigned from his ministerial position just days after Budget 2019 was revealed.

Speaking following the revelation, the leader of the Green Party, deputy Eamon Ryan, said: “Earlier on today, we expressed no confidence in the minister, but that was on the issue of climate change primarily. We did not expect him to be resigning here today.

The future of this Government hangs in the balance this afternoon.

Like most other TDs, the leader of the Labour Party, deputy Brendan Howlin, had entered the Dail with the intention of asking questions on the National Broadband Plan.

He described the plan “as the most important piece of national infrastructure for rural Ireland that we have yet to put into place”.

Addressing the floor, he said: “What we had here this afternoon was something much more dramatic and that was in essence a resignation speech from the Minister for Communications – the likes of which I haven’t heard before.

It was much more akin to the resignation speeches that we are used to hearing from the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, the now former minister’s constituency colleagues – independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice and Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy – expressed their disappointment at his resignation.

During his speech, deputy Fitzmaurice outlined that the “real losers here today are the people in rural Ireland”.

The Taoiseach is due to address the Dail shortly on this afternoon’s revelations.