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Minister Naughten has serious questions to answer regarding INM’s proposed takeover of Celtic Media – Mary Lou McDonald TD

18 April, 2018 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has “very serious questions to answer” regarding his engagements with a PR firm acting on behalf of Independent & Media, in relation to its proposed takeover of Celtic Media.

Ms McDonald stated that “it is essential that the Minister provides a full, comprehensive and credible explanation of his action when he comes before the Dáil”.

Teachta McDonald, who raised the matter with the Taoiseach during Leaders Questions this afternoon said;

“The story is very troubling. It raises questions around Minister for Communications Denis Naughten’s discussions with INM regarding their attempts to takeover Celtic Media.

“These discussions happened in November 2016. The Minister told a PR executive acting on behalf on INM of his plan to refer the proposed takeover to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. 

"This was a full two months before he actually referred the proposed acquisition to the BAI.

“The Minister would have known that he was working on behalf of INM. This engagement between them and the Minister’s decision to refer the proposed acquisition to the BAI was the subject of an email sent by the PR Company to the Chairperson of INM. 

"This email was subsequently sent to Denis O’Brien.

“The ODCE has expressed concerns that it many represent insider information and that the engagement may have breached stock market rules.

“It certainly raises very serious concerns regarding the consolidation of media ownership and power in this state.

"In the past interactions between a government Minister and a powerful interest in media spawned the Moriarty Tribunal.

“It is one of the reasons people do not trust powerful politicians or indeed the political process itself.”

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