Denis Naughten

  • Minister Denis Naughten says he's sorry the controversy over his conversation with a lobbyist from Independent News & Media has taken up 4 days of attention in the Dáil.

    The Roscommon-based Minister insists he did nothing wrong when he told the PR Executive that the proposed INM takeover of Celtic Media was likely to be referred to the Broadcasting Authority for scrutiny.

    It's alleged Mr Naughten’s intervention was insider information and possibly in breach of stock market rules, as it led to the conversation being shared with Denis O'Brien and no other INM shareholder.

    Minister Naughten again apologised in the Dáil this morning:

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    The independent auditor reviewing the National Broadband Plan is to review new documents that have emerged from the Department of Communications.

    The papers reveal that former Communications Minister, Roscommon's Denis Naughten and his officials had two previously undisclosed meetings with the businessman leading a bid for the multi billion euro project.

     

    Deputy Naughten resigned last week over his contacts with David McCourt from the Enet consortium, that's now the only bidder left in the NBP process.

    Details of the meetings emerged from a trawl of diary meetings involving the former minister, senior officials and the members of the Enet group over the last two years.

    The minutes for all meetings have also been published.

    In a statement the department says it engages with Enet on other issues not related to the tendering process.

    All details will now be forwarded to Peter Smyth, the independent auditor to consider as part of his review into the handling of the bidding process.

    Mr. Smyth will submit a report to the Taoiseach within three weeks.

     



     

     

     

  • The former Minister for Communications has disputed a claim made by the Taoiseach that he only told him about additional meetings with David McCourt yesterday morning.

    Denis Naughten stepped down from his role at the cabinet table yesterday after it was revealed he met businessman David Mc Court in private, multiple times.

    Speaking to Midwest News today Denis Naughten said at this stage it a question of “he said he said” in terms of who said what between himself and the Taoiseach, but he stated categorically that as the Minister for Communications he did nothing wrong and was determined to provide better broadband and mobile telephone coverage to the people nationally who need it.

     

  • The Taoiseach has appointed Richard Bruton as Communications Minister to replace Denis Naughten who resigned on Thursday.

    A number of other ministerial appointments have been made as a result of the change.

    The new changes to cabinet announced by Leo Varadkar today will see Richard Bruton take over as Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment.

    That move will see former Chief Whip Joe McHugh take over as Minister for Education & Skills, the post vacated by Minister Bruton.

    Sean Kyne will take on the role of Minister for the Gaeltacht & the islands, he'll also assume the role of Chief Whip.

    Meanwhile Sean Canney has been promoted to the position of Minister of State at the Departments of Rural & Community Development and Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment.

    The Independent TDs appointment shores up his support for the government.

    All changes are subject to approval of the Dail and Cabinet - a vote on the appointments is due to take place on Tuesday.

     

     

     

  • The Communications Minister Denis Naughten says he sincerely regrets expressing a personal opinion on what would happen with the proposed INM takeover of Celtic Media.

    But the Roscommon-based Minister insists he did nothing wrong.

    He's come under criticism for allegedly telling a representative of Independent News and Media, Eoghan O'Neachtain, that the proposed merger with Celtic Media would be referred to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for scrutiny.

    The conversation took place before the Minister made that information public, and it's argued this would have given INM a competitive advantage, in breach of stock market rules.

    But Minister Naughten claims he said that sending it to the BAI was likely, not guaranteed:

    Meanwhile Fianna Fail is not calling for Denis Naughten’s resignation, but wants the Taoiseach to explain why he’s happy with the Minister’s explanation of the matter.

    Last night, Leo Varadker said Minister Naughten had given a clear explanation of what happened, but Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary says the issue is very serious, and the Taoiseach has to explain why he’s happy with Minister Naughten’s explanation.

  • Roscommon-based Independent Minister Denis Naughten is facing increasing pressure to withdraw support from the Government, over the closure of mental health facilities in his own constituency.

    A day care centre in Ballaghadereen is due to close shortly, while it's expected the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, which cares for patients with Alzheimers and dementia, will also close.

    Both facilities were discussed at a heated meeting on Friday between the HSE and local Oireachtas representatives, and Tony Canavan, Chief Operations Officer with the HSE has since stated that the Rosalie Unit will close in the long-term.

    He said a review is underway to assess the future care of the 12 residents at the facility, and the policy of no new admissions to the centre will not be reversed.

    Midwest News has been unable to make contact with Minister Denis Naughten this morning, but it's understood he walked out of the meeting on Friday in disgust.

    The Minister - who lost the FG whip in 2011 following the closure of the A& E unit at Roscommon Hospital - is expected to raise the matter with the Taoiseach when he returns from New York.

    Minister Naughten has also written to the Minister for Older People Jim Daly on foot of Friday's meeting, and will be seeking a meeting with him and the Health Minister Simon Harris this week.

    However, a spokesperson told the Irish Independent she could not comment on whether Minister Naughten is considering withdrawing his support from the minority Government if the matter is not resolved.

    Denis Naughten's constituency colleague, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, has called on Minister Naughten to stand by previous committments he made in relation to the Rosalie Unit, and said it's time to put people before politics.

     

  • The Minister for Communications has warned that people need to respect the office of the US President.

    Denis Naughten has refused to directly criticise fellow Government Ministers who've threatened to demonstrate during Donald Trump's planned visit here in November.

    But he has said that protesting won't solve any problems.

    The Taoiseach claims there's a standing invitation for any US President to come to Ireland, despite the visit coming 'out of the blue'.

    Denis Naughten agrees that President Trump is welcome here.

  • On the spot litter fines will be increased from €150 to €250 under new legislation being brought forward by the Environment Minister Denis Naughten.

    The Roscommon-based Minister has today published the 2017 National Litter Pollution Report, which shows that cigarette butts account for more than half the litter on our streets and roads.

    Cigarette-related litter accounts for 56% of waste, with packaging, food-related litter and sweet papers accounting for another 34% of litter.

    Minister Naughten told Midwest News  that smokers are responsible for much of the litter in our towns and communities....

  • The Environment Minister's planning to increase the fine for those who are throwing cigarettes on the ground.

    Roscommon based, Denis Naughten says it's going up from 150 euro to 250 euro for anyone who's caught.

    The 2017 National Litter Pollution Report shows cigarette butts account for more than half of the litter on our streets.

    Minister Naughten says they're causing widespread damage to our environment.

  • A review of the National Broadband Plan would "plunge the whole project into uncertainty" according to the Communications Minister.

    He was responding to a Fianna Fáil motion calling for an urgent examination of the controversial process.

    The huge project has only one remaining bidder after Eir withdrew.

    But Minister Denis Naughten says a review will be counter-productive

  • The Communications Minister Denis Naughten remains under pressure today over the controversy surrounding  a proposed merger of Independent News & Media and the Celtic Media group.

    It's alleged that the Roscommon-based Minister told a representative of INM about a Broadcasting Authority review of the merger deal - two months before he made it public.

    This has led to claims of insider information being given to Independent News and Media, and its largest shareholder Denis O’Brien.

    In the Dail yesterday evening, Minister Denis Naughten says he discussed the issue in a personal capacity, and denied any wrongdoing.

     

    However,  Fianna Fáil's Communications Spokesperson Timmy Dooley took issue with the Minister discussing the issue with a PR executive working for INM in a personal capacity.

     

    Last night, the Taoiseach Leo Varadker said Minister Naughten had given a clear explanation.

     

     

  • The Minister for Communications has resigned his position.

    In a statement to the Dail this afternoon, Denis Naughten said the Taoiseach asked him to reflect on his position, and he felt Leo Varadker no longer had confidence in him.

    The Roscommon TD has been under pressure to explain his contacts with businessman David Mc Court, who is part of a consortium bidding for the tender for the national broadband plan.

    In a defiant speech, Mr Naughten told the Dáil that there was no interference in the procurement process for the NBP, and he criticised the media and the opposition for what he called loose language and irresponsible politics.

    Minister Naughten said, however, that he hopes the broadband plan can be allowed to continue.