Minister Naughten has failed to explain actions around proposed INM takeover of Celtic Media – McDonald

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said “the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has failed to explain his actions surrounding INM’s proposed takeover of Celtic Media

Ms McDonald stated that it is the responsibility of An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar “to ensure Minister Naughten that provides full answers to a raft of unanswered questions.”

She made the comments following a statement on the matter from Minister Naughten in the Dáil and questions from the opposition.

Teachta McDonald said;

“It is deeply alarming that Minister Naughten thinks it is acceptable to communicate sensitive commercial information regarding an acquisition process to somebody representing a party to that acquisition.

“These are actions described by the ODCE as potentially constituting insider information and a possible breach of stock market rules.

“The Minister was given ample Dáil time to explain himself and to answer important questions. He failed to do so.

“Why did he take a phone call from a person acting on behalf of INM and communicate his decision to refer the takeover to the BAI two months before he formally did so? Why was there no record taken of the call and why was no official in his Department briefed or informed of the call?

“Why did the Minister mislead the Dáil in December when he told the house that he had not arrived at any decision on how to proceed? This was clearly untrue as he told Mr Eoin Ó Neachtain quite the opposite approximately three weeks prior?

“It is breath-taking that Minister seems unable to grasp that he is in breach of his statutory duties?

“The Minister’s answers in the Dáil today had more holes than a sieve. It is now the responsibility of the Taoiseach to ensure that the Minister is not allowed to shrug his shoulders and dodge his responsibility to provide these answers.”