O'Brien objects to Burton comment


BUSINESSMAN DENIS O’Brien has accused Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton of “vindictiveness” in her attitude towards him.

Mr O’Brien wrote to Ms Burton last April after she referred to the “considerable public and political unease” about his presence at various public events, despite the Moriarty tribunal’s adverse finding against him over the issuing of the State’s first mobile phone licence.

The Sunday Independent reported yesterday that Mr O’Brien told Ms Burton he recognised “that your political persuasion naturally leaves you unsympathetic towards someone in my position, but I remain concerned at the level of vindictiveness underpinning your remarks”.

Mr O’Brien wrote that he was not a convicted criminal.

“I have never been charged with a criminal act. For someone with a proud record of defending the civil and constitutional rights of the individual in Ireland (as you undoubtedly have) your personal attack on me is all the more startling,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr O’Brien’s business associate, Dermot Desmond, has written to Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton asking her to stop her “ostracisation and denigration” of Mr O’Brien.

Ms Creighton previously received a letter from Mr O’Brien challenging her remarks that he should not be invited to the next global economic forum because of the tribunal’s findings.

Yesterday, the Sunday Times reported that in the letter, sent last March, Mr Desmond had described Mr O’Brien as a “great Irishman”.

Mr Desmond said the then attorney general had signed off on the award of the licence and 14 civil servants had said it was granted without interference or influence from the then minister for communications Michael Lowry. “I know Denis well and am a huge admirer of his business acumen and integrity,” Mr Desmond added.

“I know Denis invests a considerable amount of money in Ireland in a range of diversified businesses.”