RTÉ News understands that a review of the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan does not find that it was undermined by contacts between former minister for communications Denis Naughten and the businessman leading the only remaining consortium bidding for the strategy, writes Mary Regan.

The review by Independent Auditor Peter Smyth has been given to Minister for Communications Richard Bruton and is expected to be published within days.

It was requested by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in October after details emerged of a number of contacts between Mr Naughten and businessman David McCourt while the procurement process was continuing.

It is understood the report's findings pave the way for the Government to proceed with the normal process of evaluating the bid which Mr Bruton has said will be concluded by Christmas.

The Attorney General has advised that the review should be sent to the individuals named in the document before being published.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications said it would be published shortly, but could not say specifically when.

The spokesperson also could not say whether those individuals named would be given an opportunity to respond to the report's findings before it is published.

The spokesperson said: "On the advice of the Attorney General, those people who are mentioned in the report must be consulted on the contents of the report. The minister will publish the report in the coming days."

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The report, which was received by Minister for Communications Richard Bruton yesterday, was not discussed at this morning’s Cabinet meeting.

It is expected to be presented at Cabinet next week.

Responding to Labour leader Brendan Howlin during Order of Business in the Dáil this afternoon, Mr Varadkar acknowledged that some parts of the report may have to be redacted for commercial reasons.

He said that the people named in it have to be given an opportunity to comment or reply to it.

He added that he anticipated the report will be published "as soon as we possibly can. I would anticipate that being in a matter of days, rather than a matter of weeks."

The probe was requested by the Taoiseach on 11 October after Mr Naughten resigned after it emerged that he had met Mr McCourt a number of times while the procurement process was continuing.

Among the meetings was a dinner, organised and attended by Minister of State Pat Breen, which took place in Mr McCourt's home in Co Clare in 2017 and was not minuted.

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

Mr McCourt is the founder and chairman of Granahan McCourt, the company leading the National Broadband Ireland consortium.

It is the only remaining bidder for the troubled National Broadband Plan after eir and SIRO withdrew from the process last year.

The project team at the Department of Communications is currently evaluating the tender submitted by National Broadband Ireland.

Additional reporting: Will Goodbody & Conor McMorrow