The Communications Minister Denis Naughten has defended his attendance at a dinner in New York hosted by the head of the bid for the National Broadband Plan, at which issues relating to the bid were briefly discussed.

The Roscommon-based Minister says he and a number of his officials attended an event hosted by David McCourt, chairman of private investment firm Granahan McCourt.

The last remaining bidder for the National Broadband Plan, a consortium originally led by E-net but now led by Granahan McCourt, submitted its tender last month.

Minister Naughten says the issue was "discussed briefly" when he and Mr McCourt met in New York.

Speaking on national radio, the Minister said he regularly meets with people who are investing - or planning to invest - in Ireland, and he added that he has never been directly involved in the procurement process relating to the NBP, which was a decision taken before he became minister.

Fianna Fáil's communictions spokesman Timmy Dooley says Minister Naughten should not have attended the New York dinner, describing it as highly inappropriate, while Social Democrats' TD Catherine Murphy has said that Mr Naughten's meeting with Mr McCourt has undermined public confidence in the process of awarding a contract for the National Broadband Plan.

This evening, Sinn Fein and the Green Party have called for the minutes of the dinner meeting in New York to be released.

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