Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I asked the Taoiseach four questions. I have no intention of going into electioneering because everybody is committed to the delivery of broadband. I asked the Taoiseach to give the breakdown he provided at the end of this contribution, but I asked him also whether he agreed with the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that this is an unprecedented risk to the taxpayer and that the value-for-money assessment is simply not credible.
I asked the Taoiseach a simple, straight question on whether he agrees with the entirety of what the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has put on the record in relation to this matter. It made very clear that the risk to the State is far greater than the risk to the private sector. It makes the point: "I believe that there are unprecedented risks to the Exchequer posed by this proposed project." Those are not my words but the words of the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
I asked the Taoiseach to explain the role of Frank McCourt and the company that is underpinning the entire bid and for some reason, he chose to ignore that question in its entirety. I ask the Taoiseach again if he was aware that it was another company that was underpinning the financial criteria governing Granahan McCourt and not Granahan McCourt itself.
I also asked the Taoiseach about KPMG, the auditors to Granahan McCourt, whether it is appropriate that it should also be the advisers to the Department. The Department asked Granahan McCourt's auditors. What else will KPMG tell the Department about the capacity of Granahan McCourt to proceed? Can the Taoiseach confirm that Peter Smyth spoke to Frank McCourt in relation to the meeting in July at which the financial aspects of this project were discussed in New York in the presence of the former Minister, Deputy Naughten?