Application for discovery over Esat Digifone licence award opens

Proceedings involving businessman Declan Ganley are being taken against Denis O’Brien and Michel Lowry among others

A hearing of several applications for discovery of documents for an action over the awarding of the country’s second mobile phone licence in 1996 to Esat Digfone has opened before the High Court.

A hearing of several applications for discovery of documents for an action over the awarding of the country’s second mobile phone licence in 1996 to Esat Digfone has opened before the High Court.

 

A hearing of several applications for discovery of documents for an action over the awarding of the country’s second mobile phone licence in 1996 to Esat Digfone has opened before the High Court.

Comcast International Holdings Inc, Ganley International Ltd, GCI Ltd and businessman Declan Ganley are suing over the awarding of the second mobile phone licence, a competition in which their Cellstar consortium was an unsuccessful bidder.

A hearing date for the full case has yet to be fixed.

The proceedings are against the Minister for Public Enterprise, the State, businessman Denis O’Brien, and former Fine Gael minister, now Independent TD for Tipperary, Michael Lowry. The defendants all deny the claims.

In their action seeking damages, the plaintiffs claim the decision to award Esat Digifone the licence was not merited and the selection of that company was as a result of the corruption of the process.

Flawed

It is also claimed the process used to select the winning bidder for the licence was flawed.

The action was initiated in 2001 and has been before the courts on many previous occasions.

In several motions, the plaintiffs want discovery of documents and records from the defendants which they claim are necessary to advance their claims.

The defendants oppose the applications on grounds including what is being sought is onerous with much of it dating back to the mid-1990s.

Brian O’Moore SC, for the plaintiffs, told Mr Justice Senan Allen on Tuesday the documents were being sought in order to allow his clients “understand what went on” at the relevant time.

His side would not be able to progress their claims without the various categories of documents sought from the defendants.

The hearing continues on Wednesday and is expected to last several days.