Irish Political Review – June 2011
An article entitled “the Moriarty Tribunal” was published in the June 2011 Edition of the Irish Political Review. This article, written by Mr. John Martin, dealt with Volume Two of the Final Report Part Two as issued by the Moriarty Tribunal in March 2011. This section of the Tribunal’s report dealt with the awarding of the second mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone on 16 May 1996.
A copy of this article written by Mr. Martin in the June 2011 Irish Political Review can be accessed via the link below:
This article in the June edition of the Irish Political Review followed on from a previous article written in the May edition. A copy of this article from the May 2011 edition entitled “Moriarty on Lowry” can be accessed via the link below:
The introduction to the June 2011 article exlains the link between both volumes of the Tribunal’s Report Part Two and how this division is reflected in the two articles:
“In last month’s Irish Political Review the first volume of the second part of the Moriarty Report was reviewed. This largely dealt with alleged payments made by Denis O’Brien to Michael Lowry. O’Brien has always denied that he gave even one red cent to Lowry. Last month it was concluded that the evidence adduced by Moriarty against O’Brien was weak to the point of non existence.
In the second volume of his report Moriarty examined the possible favours which Lowry gave in return for the alleged payments. This reviewer can only conclude that if O’Brien paid even one red cent he was grossly overcharged.”
In assessing the Tribunal’s rationale for inquriing into the licence process and pursuing their agenda the way they did, the writer states as follows:
“… Before delving into the minutiae of the report it is worth taking a step back in order to obtain some perspective. The licence was awarded to Esat Digifone. The legal contracts were signed in May 1996. It is generally agreed that Esat successfully competed against the State owned Eircell by building an alternative network. The owners of Esat did what they said they would. Moriarty has been enquiring into a process whose outcome has been satisfactory. If the process was flawed, it is by no means clear that there were any damaging consequences. By any reasonable measure the time and expense involved in this inquiry has been out of all proportion to the “problem” which it seeks to ameliorate.
At the beginning of volume two of his report consisting of 1,700 pages, Moriarty claims that it is not the role of the Tribunal to adjudicate on the “fairness, objectivity or legality of the award”. Nor is its role to decide on whether Esat Digifone “should or should not have been the winner”. Its only role was to decide on whether Lowry conferred a benefit.
This in my view is a little disingenuous. Firstly, according to media reports Moriarty’s provisional finding declared that the license was awarded “illegally”. So it would be more accurate to say that having failed to sustain a charge of illegality he decided it was not his role to pronounce on the legality of the award.
Secondly, in my opinion, the report goes way beyond assessing whether Lowry conferred a benefit. It examines critically technical aspects of the report over which Lowry could not have had any influence. Moriarty even employed a consultant, Peter Bacon, to second-guess the recommendations of AMI. The report is, in effect, a re-running of the license competition…”
The article concludes as follows:
“…The Moriarty Report has been a scandalous waste of time and money. It has had the effect of undermining confidence in the institutions of the State for no good purpose. The legal profession should never again be accorded such power by the State. It is time that the democratic representatives of the State reassert themselves…”