State told to pay Ganley's legal costs


The Supreme Court has directed the State to pay the substantial legal costs incurred by two mobile phone consortiums in successfully opposing the State’s bid to halt their actions alleging fraud and corruption in how the State’s second mobile phone licence was awarded to Esat Digifone.

John O’Donnell SC, for the State, had urged no costs should have to be paid out until the final outcome of the consortiums’ actions but their lawyers argued that could take some time and they were entitled to costs orders now.

The Supreme Court agreed and, giving its ruling yesterday, Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham said the court would apply the normal rule that costs be paid to the successful party and would also refuse a stay on that costs order.

Businessman Declan Ganley’s Comcast International Holdings Incorporated and Persona Digital Telephony brought separate actions in 2001 challenging the licence award to Esat Digifone and claiming multimillion euro in damages.

Comcast’s action is against the Minister for Enterprise, former minister Michael Lowry, Esat Telecom, Denis O’Brien, Ireland and the Attorney General while Persona’s is against the Minister for Enterprise, Ireland and the Attorney General. Both actions allege fraud, conspiracy, deceit, corruption and misfeasance in public office in relation to the licence award.