Most Libertas founders work for firm with military links


COMPANY CONNECTION:THE MAJORITY of the founders of Libertas, the entity campaigning for a No vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum, are employees of a company with links to the US military.

A spokesman for Libertas yesterday confirmed that five of the seven members of the Libertas Institute Ltd are employees of the Galway subsidiary of Rivada Networks LLC, a company registered in Delaware.

However, spokesman John McGuirk said Libertas had "absolutely not" received any funding from Rivada. He said Libertas had to date spent approximately €300,000 and was being financed by donations from supporters.

Rivada Networks LLC provides communications technology to the US military's northern command as well as to the national guard in 16 states in the US, and three US federal bureaus. Galway-based businessman Declan Ganley is the "chairman, chief executive officer and founder" of Rivada Networks LLC, according to its website (

He is also a member of Libertas Institute Ltd, a Galway-based company limited by guarantee which has seven members. He is the most prominent spokesman for the entity in its campaign against the Lisbon Treaty.

According to Mr McGuirk, Mr Ganley, Naoise Nunn, James O'Reilly, Norrie Keane and Martina Higgins, who are all members of Libertas, are all employees of Galway-based Rivada Networks Ltd. All live in Galway.

Mr O'Reilly is chief operating officer of the Rivada parent company in the US. The two other Libertas members are Mr Ganley's brother, Seán, and Chris Coughlan, an incoming president of the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland and a senior executive at Hewlett-Packard's European Software Centre in Galway.

The directors of Rivada Networks LLC include: John Tackett, who worked with the US air force for 20 years; Admiral James M Loy, a former deputy secretary of Homeland Security in the US; Rear Admiral Robert Duncan, who served with the US coast guard, and Lt Gen Dennis McCarthy, a former marine who retired from the US military in 2005.

Another director, John Kelly, is a former captain in the US air force who "has held high-level security clearances", according to the company's website.

The latest filed accounts for the Irish subsidiary of Rivada are for the 2006 calendar year and state that neither Mr Ganley nor Mr O'Reilly held shares in the US parent company. Mr McGuirk could not say yesterday if this was still the case and referred the question to a spokeswoman for Rivada in the US. No response had been received by late yesterday.

The directors of Libertas Institute Ltd are Declan Ganley and Dr Coughlan. Its financial accounts for the calendar year 2007 state it had no administrative expenses during 2007. The company was incorporated in October 2006.

Asked how the accounts could show no expenses for 2007, Mr McGuirk gave two seemingly conflicting responses. He said all expenses were met with personal cheques from Mr Ganley "and the other directors". When it was queried why this didn't appear in the accounts, Mr McGuirk said it was because "absolutely nothing" had been spent in 2007.

Mr McGuirk said he is the only person employed by Libertas. He said Mr Ganley had to date donated €6,348.69 to the Libertas campaign, the maximum allowable under the law.

He said he did not think it was in the interest of supporters to have their names disclosed as "on several occasions people who supported Libertas have been told by the Government parties that it is not in their interest to do so".