The Moriarty Tribunal will go into extra time next week in a bid to complete hearing evidence from its final witness.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, Chairman of the 13-year-old Payments To Politicians Investigation, today announced extra hours for sittings as the High Court rejected an attempt to end the involvement of former Justice Minister and Attorney General Michael McDowell.

The ex-Progressive Democrats party leader was controversially called in earlier this week.

His services were sought specifically to question the tribunal’s last witness, Danish consultant Professor Michael Andersen, about his part in the 1995 Government award of Ireland's second mobile phone licence to a consortium headed by telecoms businessman Denis O'Brien.

Mr Andersen, seen as one of the inquiry's most crucial witnesses, has said that if his evidence is not over by the end of next week he will be unable to return to Dublin until the second part of next year.

Such a scenario would threaten the tribunal's plans for publishing its ultimate report.

Mr Justice Moriarty said the hearing would start earlier and end later every day next week to ensure completion of Mr Andersen’s evidence.