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National Broadband Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (81, 82, 123, 125, 144, 145, 173)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

81. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the role of advisers (details supplied) in the ownership structure of National Broadband Ireland and its role in the National Broadband Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61548/21]

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Mairéad Farrell

Question:

82. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the ownership structure of National Broadband Ireland and a company (details supplied) respectively with regard to the National Broadband Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61538/21]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

123. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the safeguards that are in place in respect of the National Broadband Plan to protect the State from liability and or risk posed by the make-up and investor entities in National Broadband Ireland. [61370/21]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

125. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the steps National Broadband Ireland must take in advance of the inclusion of new investors or excluding investor entities in its corporate structure; and if he can veto changes to the corporate structure. [61372/21]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

144. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if his attention and or that of his officials was drawn to the involvement of a company (details supplied) in the context of it being an entity owned by another company; and if he will clarify the role of the company in the National Broadband Plan; the date on which the matter was notified to him; and the steps he took on receiving notice. [61578/21]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

145. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he is satisfied that no change in ownership or amendments to same have been made in respect of the ownership structure of National Broadband Ireland since its formation. [61579/21]

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Sorca Clarke

Question:

173. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if clarity will be provided on the National Broadband Plan including investors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61977/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81, 82, 123, 125, 144, 145 and 173 together.

The contract for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led intervention, which was signed with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) in November 2019, is a comprehensive and detailed document. To protect the State investment and ensure that the NBP milestones and deliverables are met, the contract has been designed to include extensive protections, quality checks, reporting and monitoring obligations.

On the matter of ownership, Metallah Limited is the 100% owner of the shares in the capital of NBI - save for the special share of the Minister which does not provide ownership rights. Granahan McCourt Dublin Limited is the 100% owner of the shares in the capital of Metallah Limited and is owned 50.9% by Granahan McCourt Fund Limited (a David McCourt controlled company) and 49.1% by Tel-IE Broadband Sari, an entity managed and controlled by Oak Hill Advisors. The ownership structure remains as it was at contract signing and contract effective date.

The NBP Contract provides specific protections in relation to a change in ownership, sale, or change in control of shareholders of NBI. Under the Contract, and up until 12 months after the network build is complete, the prior approval of the Minister is required for any of these events. In the event of a sale of NBI, any new owners will continue to have the same obligations as the original owners.

The Contract also requires the written consent of the Minister prior to the transfer of any interest, direct or indirect, in NBI held by Mr David McCourt . Again, this requirement is in place until 12 months after the network build is complete. It should be noted, however, that approval under these provisions cannot be unreasonably withheld.

In the event that the investors sell the majority of their shareholding in NBI in the first ten years of the Contract, the State will be entitled to clawback a proportion of any profit on sale based on the value of the business at the time of sale.

Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 81.
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