Report into broadband tendering process goes before cabinet

An independent report into the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan is due to be considered by Cabinet later today, Tuesday November 27.

The report, completed last week by auditor Peter Smyth, comes nearly two months after the resignation of Denis Naughten as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.

Naughten had stepped down after it was learned that he had met privately with Irish-American businessman David McCourt, who specialises in telecommunications and media.

McCourt had been the last remaining bidder for the rural broadband contract.

The two had several meetings over private dinners, without minutes being taken or officials present.

Although Naughten denied that he had interfered in the contract procurement process, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, commissioned an independent report to determine if the plan had been compromised.

During a Dail session last week, Varadkar said that the report would be published, but added that some parts of it may be redacted for reasons of ‘commercial sensitivity’.

The report has been examined by attorney general Seamus Woulfe, and has been circulated to political parties that are named in it.

It is believed that the report will find that there has been no undue influence on the broadband plan – which has been beset with several problems, including costs and delays.