The terms of reference of a review of interactions between the former Minister for Communications and the businessman leading the last remaining consortium bidding for the National Broadband Plan have been published.

At the Taoiseach's request, the independent Process Auditor for the National Broadband Plan Peter Smyth will prepare a report considering any implications for that procurement process of meetings between Denis Naughten and David McCourt or his representatives.

The report, the terms of reference say, will allow the Government to assess whether or not the integrity of the procurement process has been undermined by these meetings.

Mr Smyth has also been asked to take account of his ongoing work as Process Auditor, and his detailed knowledge of the procurement process to date in the report.

According to the Department of the Taoiseach Mr Smyth will be free to review all the relevant documentation held by the Department of Communications and/or seek written or oral inputs from any relevant parties.  

However, Mr Smyth is not being asked as part of this report to consider any substantive issues relating to the bid submitted which is the subject of ongoing evaluation by the Department of Communication's evaluation team.

Mr Smyth has been asked to submit his report to the Taoiseach and to the new Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton, within three weeks.

Last week, Denis Naughten resigned after it emerged that he had met Mr McCourt a number of times while the procurement process was continuing.

One of the meetings took place in Mr McCourt's home in Co Clare and was not minuted.

While the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan is underway, all those involved must abide by a strict communications protocol in order to protect the integrity of the process.