O’Brien application to join Persona case as defendant to be heard next month

Persona consortium lost out to O’Brien’s Esat Digifone for State’s second mobile phone licence

 

An application by businessman Denis O’Brien to be added as a defendant to a multi-million euro legal action against the State will be heard in the High Court on November 7th next.

Persona the consortium that lost out to Mr O’Brien’s Esat Digifone in the competition for the State’s second mobile phone licence in 1996, is suing the State, alleging the licence was awarded as a result of deceit and dishonesty.

Mr O’Brien wants to be joined as a defendant so that he can defend the case alongside the State which, in separate proceedings, is seeking to have Mr O’Brien and former Fine Gael minister and now Independent TD Michael Lowry made liable for damages that might arise from Persona’s case.

Mr Lowry was minister for communications at the time. Today when the matter was briefly mentioned before the High Court, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was told by Darren Lehane Bl for Mr O’Brien that his client’s application to be joined as a defendant would take a day.

The judge fixed November 7th for the hearing of the motion. Persona’s directors are businessman Tony Boyle and Michael McGinley, father of professional golfer and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.

Businessman Declan Ganley whose organisation Comcast finished sixth in the same licensing competition, is also taking a case against the State.

The State has already failed in a bid to have both cases struck out because of the time lapse since the competition.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that allegations of corruption against a former government minister were too serious to be struck out on a technicality and should be fully addressed.

Two years ago the Moriarty tribunal report stated Mr Lowry had interfered in the licensing process to the benefit of Esat and that Mr O’Brien had sought to convey a material benefit on Mr Lowry. Evidence noted by the tribunal cannot be used in the High Court proceedings.