Moriarty Tribunal publishes final report

Tuesday 22 March 2011 23.26
Esat Digifone awarded phone licence in 1995
Esat Digifone awarded phone licence in 1995

Moriarty Report summary | main points
Full report Part 1 | 2
Statements Michael Lowry | Denis O'Brien | Dermot Desmond
Liveline: Ben Dunne

The Moriarty Tribunal was established in 1997 to look into the financial affairs of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and former Fine Gael communications minister Michael Lowry.

This final report details the investigation into possible links between businessman Denis O'Brien and Michael Lowry.

Ireland's second mobile phone licence was awarded to Denis O'Brien's Digifone in 1995. Mr Lowry was Communications Minister when the mobile phone licence was granted.

The report states that it is 'beyond doubt' that Michael Lowry imparted substantive information to Denis O'Brien which was 'of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence'.

Michael Lowry's role is described as 'disgraceful and insidious'.

Updates:

2311 If you missed any of tonight's reports from Prime Time or the Nine News, you can watch them here

2113 Miriam O'Callaghan will be joined on Prime Time by Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, Gay Mitchell MEP, as well as journalists Sarah Carey and Sam Smyth.

2110 Watch futher coverage of the fallout from the publication of the Moriarty Tribunal report on tonight's Nine News and Prime Time.

1918 Businessman Dermot Desmond has issued a statement this evening in reaction to the publication of the report.

Mr Desmond accused the Moriarty Tribunal of bias and said it has been prejudicial from the outset.

'The Tribunal because of the length of time it has taken, and the cost of its investigations, has now a vested interest in achieving a 'result',' he said.

'This Tribunal has rejected evidence where it did not suit its end and has described reputable witnesses appearing before it in disparaging terms.

'From the outset it is my belief that the Tribunal has been prejudicial in its approach.

'At over 1500 pages the Moriarty Report is the most lengthy and expensive comic ever produced.'

1858 Denis O'Brien said Mr Justice Michael Moriarty had admitted last summer that he had got two issues completely wrong.

He said that if this had happened in the High Court, the case would have been deemed a miscarriage of justice and would have been thrown out.

1838 'This judge is flawed and has made serious mistakes ... he was never up to the job of writing this report.'

1835 'They looked at every bank account I had in the world. I gave them access to every account,' Denis O'Brien tells Six One News.

'All the witnesses came in and said Denis O'Brien was not involved in any of these transactions It's not evidence, it's hearsay. Anonymous letters.

'It is a very bad day for a High Court judge when he uses hearsay, and without any facts at all, makes rulings.'

1826 'I never paid Michael Lowry one red cent' - Denis O'Brien

1754 Michael Lowry's son, Cllr Micheal Lowry, has rejected suggestions that his father should resign from the Dáil.

Cllr Lowry said that his father had a mandate from over 14,000 people in Tipperary North to represent them in the Dáil and had heard nothing new in the Moriarty Tribunal Report.

He said the people of the area had heard the rumours and innuendo coming out of the tribunal now for many years, but had faith in their local TD and would not be changing their view.

1749 Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin said the Tribunal Report should be sent to the DPP.

He asked how Mr Rabbitte would account for the failures of the government on the awarding of the licence, since Mr Lowry by-passed the Cabinet.

He asked what other ministers were doing at the time, to allow Mr Lowry ride roughshod over them

He said the Rainbow coalition were either fools or knaves to allow this.

1722 Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the report had uncovered shocking political and corporation corruption.

Denis O'Brien had sold the mobile phone licence for a profit of IR£250m - Deputy Higgins asked if the Criminal Assets Bureau would seek to recover that money for the State.

1720 The Minister for Communications has told the Dáil he has not yet read the report in detail, but has been advised as to its contents.

Minister Pat Rabbitte said the report's findings were of the utmost gravity and said Michael Lowry had made insidious inroads to the process of awarding the license.

1705 Ben Dunne was on Liveline this afternoon following the publication fo the report - listen back to the full programme

1654 Extract from Part 1 Chapter 16 of the Moriarty report:

'Had the Tribunal's inquiries not been delayed in the year 2000, consequent on Mr Charles Haughey's health problems,' the Tribunal's work may well have concluded before further material information on Mr Lowry's finances 'which had been witheld' came to its attention.

Moriarty says the inquiries may have ended after Chapter 2 of today's report.

This section concerned payments from Dunnes Stores to Mr Lowry and his companies.

1644 In the Dáil, Enda Kenny said he has not yet read the 2,000 page report, but said he welcomed the fact that it has been published.

He said that there are 'four or six' High Court or Supreme Court cases currently in progress around the issue and said he did not want to say anything about it now.

The Fine Gael leader was responding the Micheal Martin who said today's report contains stinging criticism of Fine Gael.

The Fianna Fáil leader asked Enda Kenny if he would apologise on behalf of Fine Gael for its 'concealment' and 'lack of co-operation' with the tribunal around the issue of the Telenor donation.

The FF leader also pointed out that six current Cabinet members were in the Rainbow coalition that awarded the licence in 1995.

1631 The below graphic from the Moriarty Report (part 1 p99) details the movement of £147,000 from Denis O'Brien to Michael Lowry (full size here)

1627 Leaders' Questions taking place in the Dáil. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is answering questions about the Moriarty Tribunal Report. Watch it live.

1544 Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte is to answer a special notice question on the Moriarty Report in the Dáil at around 1645 this afternoon.

1520 Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil a short time ago that members of of his party will be available to answer questions in the Dáil regarding any part they played in the awarding of the mobile phone licence to Esat Digiphone in 1995.

1438 Micheál Martin asks Enda Kenny when the Government became aware that the Moriarty report would be published today - the Taoiseach says he heard while walking to the Cabinet meeting this morning.

'This is a report that deserves serious analysis and it will get that that from this Government' - Enda Kenny.

Micheal Martin described the report as a 'damning indictment' on the then government's decision to award the licence .

He said it is a matter of grave importance with implications for the State and the taxpayer.

1435 When Jarleth Burke, a young lawyer who represented Denis O'Brien in 1995, produced his documents to the Tribunal they contained a fax dated 24 July 1995 from Mr Burke to the then Director of Esat Telecom.

It contained a copy of the front page of a letter sent from the European Commission to the Department on 20 July 1995 which mentioned some highly sensitive and confidential information about the weighting matrix to be used.

The report found that this was an important and valuable piece of information that should not have been available to the consortium.

Although there were seven versions of this letter in circulation, the Tribunal traced it to one particular copy that was undated and marked with specific initials.

It said it was likely that this version came from the Commission or the Department but neither Mr Burke or members of the Commission could confirm where it came from.

The report said that regardless of where it came from Esat had information regarding the weighting matrix that it as not entitled to and might confer advantage on the consortium.

Denis O'Brien said he had no recollection of seeing this letter.

1428 Questions to the Taoiseach will begin in the Dáil in a couple of minutes. Watch live in the player above from 1430.

1408 The report points out that two further payments were made to Fine Gael - one of which was greater than the aggregate amount of all recorded donations.

It notes that this payment, by Telenor on behalf of Esat Digifone, was made in unusual circumstances in December 1995.

A donation of $50,000 for a Fine Gael fund-raising dinner in New York was made by Telenor into an off-shore account of the late Mr David Austin, a close personal friend of Mr Lowry and a member of the organising committee for the NY event.

The donation was declined by the then Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader John Bruton when it was brought to his attention.

The report notes that the payment was transferred to Fine Gael on 6 May 1997 via a cheque from David Austin to longstanding Fine Gael supporter Frank Conroy.

Tom Curran told the tribunal that upon realising the source of the donation - the party sought to return it, but this did not happen until 7 March 2001.

1400 Mr Lowry had full knowledge of a decision to falsify files in 2001 to conceal a 'clear financial connection' with Mr O'Brien.

The documents were contained in files belonging to English solicitor Christopher Vaughan concerning Mr Lowry's involvement in property transactions in Cheadle and Mansfield.

1352 The money trail:

Dealing with the money trail, the Tribunal says 'no conclusion can be arrived at, other than that repeated and clandestine courses of actions were adopted by persons intimately associated with Mr O'Brien, to confer payments or other benefits upon Mr Lowry on behalf of Mr O'Brien'

* Ir£147,000 from Mr O'Brien through David Austin in a series of offshore moves.

* £300,000 sterling to Mr Lowry's client account with his UK solicitor, Christopher Vaughan. (This funded the £231,000 sterling purchase price for the Mansfield property and £44,500 sterling as a deposit on the Cheadle property).

* £420,000 sterling loan rushed through Woodchester Bank as a 'Dennis O'Brien transaction'. This was intended to complete the purchase of the Cheadle property. However this transaction was reversed in early 2000 for 'secrecy' reasons.

The report says 'above all the wholesale falsification, concealment and delay afforded to the Tribunal, by and on behalf of the persons primarily involved, frequently following spurious assurances of full cooperation, confirms the validity, and indeed necessity, of the findings that have been made.'

1342 Mr Lowry received £300,000 (sterling) from Mr O'Brien 'giving reasonable inference' that the motive was connected to his position as Communications Minister.

The report states that most of the money was used to buy property in Mansfield and Cheadle in England in 1999 and was received by Mr Lowry through Aidan Phelan, Mr O'Brien's adviser.

1340 The Tribunal is 'satisfied' payments and other benefits were furnished 'by and on behalf of' Mr O'Brien to Mr Lowry, and that these were 'demonstrably referable' to the acts and conduct of Mr Lowry in regard to the mobile phone licence process that led to Mr O'Brien's consortium Esat Digifone winning the process. (Chapter 60.39 page 1056)

1337 There were shortcomings in the financial analysis of the standing of the Esat Digifone bid for the mobile phone licence.

The report found that the financial capability of Esat Digifone was demonstrated at an 'undocumented, unreferenced, private' meeting the day before the licence was issued.

The Department was prepared to accept that a letter would be obtained from Anglo Irish Bank stating that £10m would be available to Dermot Desmond to invest in Esat Digifone in 1996. (Chapter 61.262 page 1148)

1331 Michael Lowry's actions have cast a 'further shadow' over this country's public life.

The report refers to Mr Lowry's 'cynical and venal abuse of office', his 'brazen refusal' to acknowledge the 'impropriety' of his financial arrangements with Mr O'Brien and Mr Dunne, and his 'contemptuous disregard' for his taxation obligations.

1326 It was the view of the only two members of the Project Group with accountancy and financial skills, that the mark awarded to Esat Digifone for the financial evaluation was wrong and that instead of receiving an overall B grade the Esat Digifone application warranted a C grade.

It says it is also beyond question that there is no direct evidence that their views were ever brought to the attention of the project group and it is equally clear that for some reason their revisions were not accepted. (Chapter 61.160 page 1114)

1320 With reference to information supplied by officials to Mr Lowry and attempts to have the decision on a second GSM licence speeded up; The Tribunal says it has 'no doubt' it was Mr Lowry who brought about the 'ultimate acceleration of the process' and who was 'determined' the result should be announced in October 1995.

'Overall the Tribunal found Mr Lowry's evidence in this regard to be formulaic, evasive and unhelpful' and the Tribunal 'has had no hesitation in rejecting it'. (Executive summary II, page 1112)

1318 News At One is still discussing the report watch webcam here

1317 During the period of the competition for the mobile phone licence and subsequent licensing negotiations (March 1995 to June 1996), Denis O'Brien or his companies supported 14 Fine Gael fundraising events, and contributed a total of £22,140 by way of donations to Fine Gael. (Chapter 61.11 page 1064)

1315 If changes to marks for the eight indicator groups, proposed by accountants Billy Riordan and Donal Buggy on Monday 9 October 1995 had been adopted, it could have had a significant impact on the ranking of applicants in the process.

It says for reasons that remain unclear and were not adequately explained, their revisions were not considered by the project group.

1312 Mr Lowry had denied that he had said to Anthony O'Reilly that 'your fellas didn't do too well yesterday' in reference to the Irish Cellular submission to the department.

However, the Tribunal finds that 'a remark, consistent only with knowledge on the part of Mr Lowry of an unfavourable assessment of the performance of Irish Cellular with the previous 24 hours, was made by him to Mr O'Reilly.

This in turn can only have resulted from disclosure to Mr Lowry from within the Project Group, most probably by Mr [Martin] Brennan, in breach of the intended seal of confidence' (Chapter 61.106 page 1095)

1311 Further details on the $50,000 donation made by Denis O'Brien to Fine Gael can be found here

1309 Statement from Denis O'Brien

He says the report is 'fundamentally flawed' because 'it is based on the opinions and theories of Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and his legal team.'

1307 Brian Dowling: The report raises profound questions about Michael Lowry's capacity to stay in public life. It is a very damning report for Mr Lowry.

1302 Chapter 16 in Volume II deals with growing dissatisfaction from Norwegian partner in the licence bid, Telenor, at what it saw as the lack of a sufficient funding arrangement underpinning the Esat Digifone application.

The Tribunal agrees that such an uncertain funding arrangement could scarcely have met the procurement process's condition of demonstrable financial capability.

The report says the fact that financial backing was so uncertain was not disclosed in the Esat Digifone application.

1301 Read the statement issued on behalf of Michael Lowry.

1254 Speaking to RTÉ a short time ago, Ben Dunne said the Moriarty Tribunal never acted upon a medical report which said he was unbalanced and unwell' during the 1990s.

Mr Dunne said the report stated he was using 'mind altering substances' which affected his memory and behaviour.

Mr Dunne said the tribunal never spoke to his medical team or psychiatrist.

1251 At a meeting between departmental officials and the advisors in Copenhagen on 28 September 1995, 'significant departure was made in the weightings applied at this decisive point in the evaluation process' The report says the reason for the changes were never adequately explained. (Chapter 61.138 page 1107)

1250 Michael Lowry told RTÉ News this afternoon that he was unaware the report was to be published today.

1235 Contacts of the type which occurred between Mr O'Brien and Mr Lowry on 4 April 1995 were inevitable and had been anticipated by Mr Loughrey when he had briefed Mr Lowry on the importance of dealings with interested parties.

The report adds that - while it was perhaps inadvisable and possibly indiscreet for Mr Lowry to engage with Mr O'Brien in relation to the GSM process and to disclose information to him which can only have emanated from within his own Department - Mr Lowry no doubt recognised that the information was hardly confidential, it did not relate to any aspect of the project group's work and that the exchange between them occurred well before the closing date of the competition process proper.

But it says what it does suggest to the Tribunal is that there was an inclination on the part of Mr Lowry to be less than discreet and less cautious in his dealings with interested parties than might have been advisable. (Chapters 12.13-12.14 page 203)

1233 Mr O'Brien instigated a payment of $50,000 payment to Fine Gael two months after his company ESAT Digifone won the second mobile phone licence.

Mr Lowry was then Minister for Communications and a Fine Gael TD but the Tribunal found he did not personally benefit from the donation.

The donation was made by ESAT's Norwegian partners Telenor but reimbursed by Mr O'Brien's company.

During its public hearings the report noted that the origin of the donation involved a considerable conflict of evidence as to whether it came from ESAT or Telenor.

The Tribunal also found that businessman the late David Austin - a close friend of then Mr Lowry - was a conduit for the donation and the money held in an off shore Jersey Island account before being passed on to Fine Gael as Mr Austin's own donation.

The Tribunal found that when this 'tortuous process' became known neither the donor nor the recipient of the donation wished to keep it.

1230 It is 'wholly incredible and inconceivable' that the GSM process was not raised and discussed at informal meetings between then Mr Lowry and Mr O'Brien.

One of these occurred at Hartigans pub in Dublin after the all-Ireland football final in 1995.

The Tribunal 'rejected the evidence of both men in this regard and considers that the only realistic inference to be drawn from it' is that Mr Lowry 'volunteered' information to Mr O'Brien on how the project group assessing the GSM application was viewing Esat Digifone's bid.

This may have prompted Mr O'Brien to contact Dermot Desmond with a view to strengthening 'the Department's perception' of Esat's finances and his side of them. (Executive Summary II page 1097).

1229 The responsibility for Mr Lowry's breaching of confidentiality of the award process rested with him, but also with systemic failures within the Department.

The report states that greater precautions ought to have been taken to segregate those conducting the evaluation of the process from their political master.

The report finds those officials conducting the review had no means of knowing that Mr Lowry was conveying information to Mr O'Brien, or any other interested party, and had no reason to suspect Mr Lowry's motives. (Chapter 60.35 page 1055)

1225 Department's co-operation criticised:

Moriarty strongly criticised the level of cooperation it received from the Department of Transport Energy and Communications in its investigation.

The Tribunal says that when was first instructed to investigate the matter, it received assurances from the then Secretary General of the Department John Loughrey - and two centrally involved officials - that the procedure had been 'exemplary'.

Having received such a positive commendation from the Department, the Tribunal decided no further preliminary investigations were necessary or justifiable.

When it subsequently reactivated its enquiries in May 2002, it discovered that no systematic record of the process had been kept by the Department.

Over the ensuing months, 119 files incorporating 30,000 pages of documentation were produced to the Tribunal - but without any guidance or assistance as to their contents.

The Tribunal says that with certain notable exceptions, its efforts to progress its inquiries were met with a degree of engagement on the part of Department personnel which was 'significantly less than what should have been forthcoming.'

It was also in marked contrast to the constructive engagement experienced in dealing with other government departments.

It also refers to the delay by Danish consultant Michael Andersen in making himself available to give evidence.

It describes Mr Andersen as having 'substantially disengaged' from the tribunal in mid-2002, and as having declined to give evidence unless furnished with a comprehensive state indemnity.

He only agreed to give evidence seven years later after receiving an equivalent indemnity from Mr O'Brien.

In the meantime, the Tribunal had been forced to defend proceedings instituted by Mr O'Brien in late 2005 arising in part from Mr Andersen's non-availability as a witness. (Volume 2, Chapter 1, pages 1-4)

1210 A payment of £147,000 was made by Mr O'Brien to Mr Lowry through Mr Aiden Phelan and the late Mr David Austin during a period when Mr Lowry held public office in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that the motive for making the payment was connected with the public office of the Minister for Transport Energy and Communications then held by him.

The report says the evidence surrounding this payment disclosed that it was a 'carefully planned and covert payment.' However, the Tribunal says it was hastily repaid out of fear of possible disclosures at the time of the establishment of the McCracken Tribunal.

1147 Mr Lowry's actions in influencing the awarding of the mobile phone licence were 'disgraceful' and 'insidious'.

The Tribunal found that his influence was both direct, in his 'disgraceful action in bringing a guillotine down on the work of the Project Group' and 'indirect and insidious', arising from his interaction with the chairman of the Project Group, and his intimation of his views on the second-ranked consortium and on how Esat Digifone's financial problems could be met. (Chapter 60.34 page 1054)

1144 The dealings between Michael Lowry and Denis O'Brien regarding France Telecom:

Shortly after the announcement of the competition on 2 March 1995, The Project Group adopted a protocol to regulate contact with potential bidders.

The Tribunal is satisfied that Mr John Loughrey Secretary General of the Department brought to the attention of Mr Lowry in early March 1995 and had advised Mr Lowry to exercise caution around contacts with declared contestants and potential participants and understood that Mr Lowry had accepted that advice (Volume II, Chapter 12.08 page 202 )

The report says that unless references to Mr Lowry in Mr O'Brien's fax to Mr Prelz and diary entries for 4 April 1995 were what it describes as figments of Mr O'Brien's imagination - of which it says there was no suggestion - there can be no doubt that Mr O'Brien did meet Mr Lowry on 4 April 1995 and that Mr Lowry did inform Mr O'Brien that France Telecom had no partner for the GSM competition. (Volume I, page 203)

That was information, which on the basis of the evidence heard by the Tribunal, could only have been learned from Mr Lowry from within his own Department which had received a delegation from France Telecom some five days earlier.

1141 Mr Lowry deprived the Government of its decision-making function.

Lowry is described has having a 'strategy' of depriving Government of an opportunity to scrutinise and review the result of the process.

When Lowry learned that Esat Digifone had emerged as leader in the comparative process but that there was a financial obstacle, he ignored government policy and proposed a bankability solution.

Lowry 'misled' the party leaders as to the clarity and certainty of the result that he had recommended.

The report finds that 'most reprehensibly' Mr Lowry sought to overreach his own party leader, John Bruton, by 'intimating that the Government should have no discretion' in the matter. (Chapter 60.31, page 1054)

1140 The ESAT Telenor $50,000 donation to Fine Gael:

A $50,000 donation made through Telenor was made on behalf of ESAT Digiphone to Fine Gael.

The Tribunal says it was 'regrettable' that no disclosure whatsoever was made to a public tribunal of enquiry concerning the donation 'notwithstanding a substantial degree of knowledge concerning the clandestine circumstances of the payment' it says this observation applies to Fine Gael who both in government and in opposition was instrumental in establishing the Tribunal.

The Tribunal says the failure of those concerned in not referring it to the tribunal was to have regard to the significance of Mr Lowry's position who, at the time of the donation (December 1995), was chairman of the trustees of Fine Gael and an account holder on behalf of the party.

'This omission betrayed a marked reluctance to engage with the Tribunal and a sensitivity surrounding the circumstances of the payment'

The Tribunal found that this payment was not one ever intended for Mr Lowry personally

1138 Michael Lowry is not in Ireland at the moment and says he was unaware the report would be published today.

Denis O'Brien - who is in the country - is returning to Dublin to consider the issues involved.

1137 Making reference to contact Mr Lowry had with the project team deciding on the winning bid for the GSM licence, the Tribunal says an account of a phone call between the Minister and Fintan Towey of the project team - given by Mr Lowry - was 'wholly unconvincing' and the account furnished by Mr Towey 'more cogent and persuasive'.

Mr Lowry had spoken to the officials in regard to whether a decision had been made already on the winning bid. (Executive Summary page 1093)

1135 In advance of the closing date of the competition, Esat Digifone had available to it confidential information regarding the weighting matrix adopted by the project group that it was not entitled to have and which could have conferred an advantage on the constortium.

But the Tribunal says it is unable to conclude how Esat got this information.

Had this circumstance become known to the Department at the time, it would have seen that fairness and the integrity of the process would have dictated at a minimum that this information be share with other potential bidders.

It adds that the department would have been obliged to inquire into the precise circumstances in which the confidentiality of its process had been breached to consider any culpability on the part of Esat Digifone and to determine the appropriate course to be taken to regularise matters. (Chapter 61.43 page 1075)

1133 In June of 1995 a press release from the Department said the mobile licence process was being delayed whilst 'certain aspects' of the process were discussed with the European Commission.

The Commission had written to the Department in April taking exception to a number of issues with the tender process including, the ranking of licence fee criterion ahead of issues such as coverage and performance. It also took exception to the non-disclosure of weightings which would be applied to evaluation criteria.

The report comments that documents in the possession of East Telecom were 'never intended to any applicant', the documents were confidential correspondence between then Minister Michael Lowry and EU Commissioner Van Meirt.

The documents had made their way to the tribunal via Mr Jarleth Burke who had represented Mr O'Brien's interests in dealing with the Commission and the Department, the Tribunal said they were documents which Mr Burke had 'no business having in his possession'.

The documents contained 'sensitive information' on the weighting adopted by the project group.

1132 The Marlborough house arbitration:

Mr Lowry sought to procure unwarranted rent increases that over a seven-year period would have improperly enriched Mr Ben Dunne.

Mr Lowry sought to influence the outcome of an arbitration being conducted in 1995 in relation to the rent payable by the tenant (Marlborough House) to a company owned and controlled by Mr Dunne in which he had acquired a landlord's interest.

Tribunal finding re Marlborough House rent review:

'What was contemplated and attempted on the part of Mr Dunne and Mr Lowry was profoundly corrupt to a degree that was nothing short of breathtaking'

1129 The 'most pervasive and abusive instance' of Michael Lowry's influence on the awarding of the mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone was his action in withdrawing time from the Project Group, when they had requested an extension to their work because they were not convinced that Esat Digifone should be nominated as the winner.

The Group had asked for extra time because they were confused about the weightings applied and how the result had emerged, and wanted an opportunity to revisit and review the evaluation.

1124 It is 'beyond doubt' that Mr Lowry imparted substantive information to Mr O'Brien which was 'of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence'. (Chapter 60.23, page 1051)

1122 Michael Lowry used a 'groundless rumour' relating to the Persona consortium to his advantage.

The rumour related to the assertion that if Persona won the contract it would lead to a 'nest egg' for a former prominent Fianna Fáil politican.

The report found that Mr Lowry relayed this to the then Taoiseach John Bruton in endeavouring to convince him that there was 'no room for Government discretion on his recommendation' that Esat Digifone should be awarded the contract. (Chapter 60.20, page 1050)

1119 The report makes reference to Mr O'Brien's companies contributing £22,140 in donations to Fine Gael between 1995 and 1996.

Observing their 'conspicuous support' of Fine Gael fundraising events in early 1995 'succeeded' in raising the his company profile to an 'appreciable degree' which was not 'remotely matched' by members of other bidding consortia.

1118 Michael Lowry, TD, displayed 'an appreciable interest' in the process and had 'irregular interactions with interested parties at its most sensitive stages'.

It also found that Mr Lowry sought and received substantive information on emerging trends and made his preferences on the leading candidates known.

He conveyed his views on how the financial weaknesses of East Digifone should be countered.

Mr Lowry proceeded to bypass consideration by his Cabinet colleagues and thereby not only influenced, but delivered the result that Esat Digifone had won the evaluation process which ultimately led to the licensing award.

The report describes these matters as elements of Michael Lowry's 'insidious and pervasive influence' on the process.

1111 The Moriarty Tribunal refers to contact between Michael Lowry and Denis O'Brien during 1995 and ahead of the awarding of a GSM licence as 'inadvisable and possibly indiscreet' on Mr Lowry's part.

They spoke about the project at a Fine Gael function in March 1995.

However the tribunal on page 1073 says it recognised "the information conveyed was hardly confidential".

1100 Moriarty Tribunal has published its findings in a two-part report on its website.