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Bruton: No proof that Lowry influenced awarding of Esat licence

The former Taoiseach John Bruton did say that Lowry’s contact with people involved in bidding process was “deplorable.”

Image: THIERRY CHARLIER/AP/Press Association Images

THE FORMER TAOISEACH John Bruton has said there is no proof that the awarding of a mobile phone licence to Esat was influenced by the former communications minister Michael Lowry.

In an interview with RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme yesterday, Bruton said it was “deplorable” that the former Fine Gael and now Independent TD Lowry had contact with people involved in the bidding process.

But added:

As to whether there is proof that the result of the competition was influenced in anyway by what Michael Lowry did, that’s not proven I think.
The civil servants acted independently and they have not said that they were forced to change their conclusions by anybody.

The Moriarty Tribunal found that Lowry received financial payments from businessman Denis O’Brien.

It followed the awarding of a second mobile phone licence to O’Brien’s company, Esat Digifone in 1996.

Bruton added in the interview that he was not aware of these payments as they came after Lowry had been expelled from Fine Gael.

Earlier this month it was reported that Bruton ‘refused’ to investigate the complaints against Lowry’s actions.

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Hugh O'Connell

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