O’Brien invited to Global Irish Economic Forum
Telecoms billionaire one of 440 invitees to diaspora forum
Businessman Denis O’Brien: invited to the Global Irish Economic Forum,which will be held at Dublin Castle on October 4th and 5th. Photograph: David Sleator
The Government has invited businessman Denis O’Brien to the next economic summit for the Irish diaspora in the autumn. The telecoms billionaire is one of 440 invitees to the Global Irish Economic Forum,which will be held at Dublin Castle on October 4th and 5th.
While October 3rd had been mentioned as tentative date for the referendum to scrap the Seanad, there is speculation in political circles that polling day might now be in late September to avoid the count taking place on the same day as the forum.
The purpose of the event is to bring together Irish people active in international business to work on ideas to boost the domestic economy.
Mr O’Brien’s attendance at the last forum, in 2011, drew a protest from one of his former associates over the findings of the Moriarty tribunal.
However, the Coalition’s position is that all previous participants should be asked to attend again. “Denis O’Brien is invited to the Global Irish Economic Forum,” said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Moriarty inquiry found in 2011 that then minister for communications Michael Lowry “secured the winning” of the 1995 mobile phone licence for Mr O’Brien’s company Esat Digifone. The tribunal also found Mr O’Brien made two payments to Mr Lowry in 1996 and 1999 totalling £500,000 and backed a loan of stg£420,000 to Mr Lowry in 1999.
O’Brien’s former associate Barry Maloney later wrote to Mr Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to say he would not attend the 2011 forum because he considered Mr O’Brien’s presence would send the wrong signal in light of the tribunal report.