Fine Gael junior minister Pat Breen held a number of meetings with the lead bidder for the National Broadband Plan (NBP), the Sunday Business Post reports. Mr Breen met McCourt on three occasions in 2016 including at a breakfast meeting in the Merrion Hotel. The Minister of State has also visited McCourt at his home in Co Clare on several occasions "in a private capacity" over the last two years, it claimed.*
Former minister for communications Denis Naughten was forced to resign last week over his contacts with Mr McCourt, the founder and chairman of US investment firm Granahan McCourt, during the NBP tender process. Granahan McCourt is the last bidder remaining for the NBP contract.
Mr Naughten has admitted to having several meetings with Mr McCourt, including a number of private dinners, at least one of which was at Mr McCourt’s Co Clare home, during the process.
Money laundering scandal threatens Dankse state deal
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has signalled that Dankse Bank's prestigious contract as the Government's banker could be at risk because of its involvement in a €200 billion international money laundering scandal, according to the Sunday Times. Officials from Donohoe's department have been in contract with Danske's local branch in Dublin as they monitor the unfolding scandal, which is being investigated by authorities around the world over alleged money laundering scandal, it said.Earlier this month, US authorities launched an investigation into Danske's activities in Estonia. The Baltic state has been under the regulatory spotlight after Danske Bank said payments totalling €200 billion, many of which it described as "suspicious", had been moved through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.
Land Development Agency trying to do away with developers – O’ Flynn
Michael O'Flynn, the Cork property developer, has strongly criticised the chief executive of the State's new Land Development Agency. O' Flynn told the Sunday Business Post that the agency was trying to "eliminate the role of the developer", and said that chief executive John Coleman needed to clarify exactly what the agency was trying to achieve. O'Flynn was responding to ant article written in The Irish Times earlier this month, which he said raised questions about the scope and aims of the agency.
Charles Schwab gears up for Irish base
US brokerage giant Charles Schwab is weighing up opening a new European office in Dublin, the Sunday Times reports. It is understood that the company has begun exploring options to expand in Ireland. The institution registered a new Irish subsidiary called Charles Schwab Europe last week, according to the paper. Based in San Francisco and New York, the company was founded in 1971 by Charles R Schwab, and specialises in providing services for individuals and institutions including investing online.
Ethiopian Airlines to axe Dublin stopover
According to the Sunday Independent, Ethiopian Airlines is set to axe its Dublin service to Los Angeles as it reorganises its European network. The airline currently flies from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Los Angeles with a stopover in Dublin, where it picks up passengers in both directions.
But Dublin looks likely to lose out, with the airline rerouting the LA flight via Lagos in Nigeria. The airline, which is a member of the massive Star Alliance Group, has already stopped selling tickets online for the Dublin service after mid-December and removed it from its schedule.
* This article was amended on Monday, October 22nd, 2018.