By Patrick Brogan
Poor aul Dinny, he cannot get a break. All that unwanted criticism and attention, it must feel like the walls are closing in. Not, unfortunately, the prison walls, for that is where he should be. Although much of the media decided to go after the cast of Mrs Brown’s Boys for using offshore accounts to pay themselves (really, who cares?) very little attention was paid to the fact that the Criminal Assets Bureau sought information regarding an AIB account in the Isle of Man with links to Denis O’Brien, Michael Lowry and the illegal payments between the two that resulted in Denis O’Brien getting the second mobile phone licence in Ireland. Maybe, it’s because DO’B owns most of the media in this country?
O’Brien paid off Michael Lowry for this license. Yet, no criminal action was taken against him. The Moriarty Tribunal found that “it is ‘beyond doubt’ that Michael Lowry imparted substantive information to Denis O’Brien which was ‘of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence'”. He later made millions off the sale of Esat Digicel when BT bought it. €300 million actually. He then went on to invest this money in the Caribbean, setting up a successful mobile phone network there, too.
During the early part of this century, O’Brien was ltrying to snap up Eircom which was about to privatised. The O’Reillys were also also looking to do the same, them of Independent News and Media fame. O’Brien felt they had turned on him. He wanted control of INM in light of this and eventually got. He ended up controlling the most sold newspapers in the country, along with the various radio stations he already owned.
Controlling the media was not enough for him. He wants to control the political scene, also. Parliamentary privilege has long been enjoyed in most democratic countries. O’Brien, who lives in Malta for tax reasons, tried to shut it down in Ireland. Earlier this year, he lost a High Court case against the Dáil for the mentioning of his business dealings in relation to Siteserv. He said this was against the privacy he was entitled to. Seems he’s not having it all his own way anymore.
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