Declan Ganley: holding pattern

Declan Ganley, the businessman best known for the Libertas referendum campaign against the Lisbon Treaty, has spoken about the seven-year legal action he has taken against the state on the award of the second mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone in 1995, which is the subject of the Moriarty tribunal.

Ganley said his aim in taking the legal action was not "to embarrass" any of the parties involved in the dispute or to "grandstand" by commenting on what he expected the final report to say about the awarding of the licence. "There were good people involved in all sides in this," he told the Sunday Tribune.

He described his legal challenge as being in a "holding pattern" until the tribunal publishes its report. "We need to wait and see what is in the report and see what will happen from there," he said.

"It is in a holding pattern... You do what you have to do as a businessman as long as it is fair and proper," Ganley added.

The businessman was involved in one of the five consortia, called Cellstar, that unsuccessfully tendered for the second mobile phone licence in 1995. The Cellstar consortium consisted of Comcast International, the national broadcaster RTé, Bord na Móna and a Ganley company. The then minister for communications, Michael Lowry, announced in 1995 that another bidder, Esat Digifone, led by Denis O'Brien, had won the licence.

The High Court in June last year threw out a legal challenge, initiated in 2001, by Comcast and Declan Ganley against the Minister for Public Enterprise, Michael Lowry, Esat, Denis O'Brien and the Attorney General over the awarding of the licence.

The court also threw out a separate action taken by Persona Digital and Sigma Wireless Networks, part of another consortium that had failed to secure the licence. Persona was not available for comment on Friday. In 1995, the Persona consortium that bid for the licence also included Motorola, ESB International, and Unisource.

Ganley and Persona have separately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule in the next few months.