The Department of Communications says that following a trawl of departmental diaries it has identified two further meetings, not previously publicly disclosed, that were attended by former minister Denis Naughten and businessman David McCourt.

Last week, Mr Naughten resigned from his ministry amid growing controversy around his contacts with Mr McCourt, whose company Granahan McCourt is leading the last remaining consortium bidding for the lucrative National Broadband Plan (NBP) contract.

The first of the meetings happened on 20 October 2016 and was attended by Mr Naughten, Mr McCourt and officials from the department.

There are no minutes for the meeting, but sources say it is thought that it was held to discuss the Metropolitan Area Networks or MANs.

These are the fibre rings around towns and cities around the country, which are owned by the State and operated on its behalf by enet, the telecoms company formerly owned by a consortium led by Granahan McCourt.

The second meeting took place on 26 June this year and was attended by Mr Naughten, Mr McCourt and the Assistant Secretary at the department in charge of the National Broadband Project, Ciarán Ó hÓbáin.

According to minutes of that meeting taken by Mr Ó hÓbáin, it was held in advance of a National Broadband Plan sponsors meeting that took place later that day.

During the meeting, the minutes say, Mr McCourt communicated that he remained committed to investing in building high speed broadband infrastructure in rural Ireland and he asked about the likely approach of the department at the meeting later in the day.

Mr Ó hÓbáin notes in the minutes that he told Mr McCourt that it was his expectation that the minister and department would speak very directly to what were considered to be the key issues that the consortium needed to address in order for the procurement to proceed to a conclusion.

Last Friday, the department released the minutes for the meeting later that day and they showed that Mr Naughten told the consortium that its conservative approach to potential costs and revenues would likely result in it seeking a subsidy that he and the department could not recommend to Government.

The department has also this evening published a list of more than 40 events or meetings involving senior departmental officials and/or its ministers, as well as enet or other members of the consortium bidding to win the contract for the NBP that took place over the past two years.

The department said in a statement that all the details would now be forwarded to Peter Smyth, the independent process auditor to the NBP procurement.

He has been asked by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to conduct a review of contacts between former minister Naughten and members of the Granahan McCourt-led consortium bidding for the broadband plan.

His report will enable the Government to assess whether or not the integrity of the procurement process has been undermined by such meetings.

Mr Smyth is due to complete his report within the next three weeks.

According to the department, it engages with enet on a variety of issues, not just the NBP, because of its management of the Metropolitan Area Networks.

It also said the competitive dialogue involved in the tender process for the NBP requires extensive engagement between bidders and the department, to see how the department's needs in terms of delivering the broadband plan can best be met.

The procurement has consisted of approximately 800 hours of dialogue with all potential bidders, it added.