Declan Ganley

Declan James Ganley
Chairman and CEO, Rivada Networks LLC and leader of Libertas
In office
2004  Present
Personal details
Born (1968-07-23) 23 July 1968
Watford, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Spouse(s) Delia Mary Paterek; 4 children
Religion Roman Catholicism
Military service
Service/branch Irish Army Reserve

Declan James Ganley (born 23 July 1968) is an Irish[1] entrepreneur, businessman, and political activist.[2][3][4]

Primarily a telecommunications entrepreneur, he has built businesses across Europe, Russia, and latterly, the United States. He is currently the Chairman and CEO of Rivada Networks, a telecommunications company specialising in the efficient use and arbitrage of wireless spectrum. Rivada patented groundbreaking technologies in the field of Dynamic Spectrum Arbitrage.

In 2013, Ganley testified to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce (YouTube) that Rivada's patents had the potential to "save the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars". He founded and sold successful companies in forestry, and the online sector. During the 2008 Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, Ganley and the Libertas Institute successfully campaigned for a No vote.[5] He again campaigned for a "No" vote in the 2012 Irish European Fiscal Compact referendum. Aside from this, he has guest-presented Tonight with Vincent Browne.

In 2009, he was founder and chairman of a political party, Libertas with pan-European ambitions. The party was unsuccessful in this ambition in the 2009 European Parliament Election, succeeding in getting only one candidate elected, in France. Ganley was upbeat after the defeat, describing the venture as a "failed experiment". His first book, The Fight for Democracy, was published in 2009. He was one of the contributors, along with Joseph Stiglitz and others, of the book What If Ireland Defaults, a collection of essays on the response to the Irish economic crisis.

Personal life

Ganley was born in Watford, Hertfordshire to Irish parents. He returned with his parents to live in Glenamaddy, County Galway, Ireland, at the age of 13, and today lives in Abbeyknockmoy, Galway with his U.S.-born wife, Delia Mary Ganley (née Paterek)[6] and their four children[7] on a 40-acre Moyne Park Mansion, previously home to Scottish folk singer Donovan.[8]

Ganley has served on the boards of the University of Limerick Foundation, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He served for more than two decades with the 54th Field Artillery Regiment, Irish Army Reserve.[6]

Business life

Ganley received the Louisiana Distinguished Service Medal for his work during Hurricane Katrina, where Rivada's emergency deployable communications systems were credited by state and federal officials with dramatically improving communications between emergency response organisations, and saving countless lives.[6]

Ganley served as the chairman on the Forum on Public Safety in Europe & North America, 2005–06. He was an advisor on 'technology and terrorism' to the Club De Madrid. In 2008, Ganley accepted the Czech Republic's Michal Tosovsky Prize on behalf of the Irish electorate.[9] He is an occasional analyst on CNBC's Squawk Box Europe. He makes regular TV and radio appearances in Ireland, occasionally with partner Constantin Gurdgiev. Ganley is avowedly free-market, and has been repeatedly critical of what he calls "corporatism" in the Irish economy. He has repeatedly criticised the bank bail-outs imposed by the Irish government in 2008, saying the debt burden has the potential to cripple the country for generations.

He is the current CEO/Chairman of Rivada Networks,[10] a US-based firm specialising in the provision of telecommunications systems to the military, police and emergency services in disaster situations.[11]

Rivada Networks recently appointed former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers to the board.[11][12] Ganley has written about the future of mobile spectrum and bandwidth for the Sunday Independent and the Sunday Business Post.

On 14 March 2013, Ganley represented Rivada Networks in testimony to the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, for the hearing entitled "Oversight of FirstNet and Emergency Communications."[13]

In May 2011, Ganley set up a Swiss finance fund, St. Columbanus AG, along with businessmen Gurdgiev and Andrew Jamieson, which was billed as a "safe haven" for Irish funds from European banks.[14]


Ganley has been an innovator in the field of emerging telecommunications technologies, and is the co-inventor, along with Clint Smith of Dynamic Spectrum Arbitrage, Tiered Priority Access, a technology which enables the auctioning of wireless spectrum on a real-time, hyper-localised basis. He has been credited with multiple unique and patented inventions in the field of telecommunications.

Early life and rise to prominence

After leaving school in 1987,[8] Ganley initially worked on building sites in London but soon found a job as a tea boy at an insurance company. His business life started soon afterwards when he moved to the Soviet Union. He traded in Soviet aluminium which he shipped to Rotterdam via Latvia.[3] He has been involved in business ventures selling Russian aluminium and in the Latvian forestry sector.[15]

In the early 1990s Ganley founded Kipelova Forestry Enterprises, which became one of the largest forestry companies in the Russian Federation.[16][17] Ganley sold the company in 1997.[16] In 1996, his company Ganley International founded the Anglo-Adriatic Investment Fund, an Albanian financial fund formed to collect and invest privatisation vouchers. Following political upheaval and several changes of government, the Albanian government ceased its planned privatisation programmes, and the fund became dormant. He formed a company called Liberty Mobile that made two unsuccessful bids, in partnership with Qualcomm, to obtain mobile telecoms operator licenses in Iraq from the Coalition Provisional Authority.[18]

Ganley has investments in joint ventures with Nana Pacific, an Alaskan Native Corporation with special US Government contracting access.[19] This joint venture was structured with the help of business partners Jack Shaw and Don DeMarino. The partnership eventually led to the creation of Ganley's current company, Rivada Networks, and the joint venture company Rivada Pacific formed 49%/51% with Nana Pacific.[20]

John Kneuer, at the time the Bush appointed head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, resigned his post to join Rivada.[21] Rivada Pacific's bidding efforts were assisted by the now deceased Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK).[20] The company reportedly has contracts worth $240 million with US Public Safety Organisations.[19][22][23] As of March 2013, Rivada had six contracts with the United States Government.[6]

Political life

Views on the European Union

Ganley advocates a Federal Europe, with directly elected office holders representing the people and holding the currently unelected EU Commission to account. He has called the current European Union a "cartel of unelected elites", regularly expressing these views in articles for the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. In 2012, he returned to the political arena to campaign against the EU Fiscal Treaty, outlining his views on the issue to a wider audience in the Wall Street Journal; accessed 20 March 2014.

In June 2012, Ganley outlined his vision for the European Union in a speech at the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI), followed up by a further briefing to the same body. This was an expansion and deepening of remarks he made in Vienna in 2009. In October 2011, he expanded further on his views in a speech to University of London's New College of the Humanities. He has written extensively on the subject of European Union reform, including substantial papers for RUSI, and the Sunday Business Post.

Anti abortion views

Ganley has described himself as "avowedly pro-life", and actively supports anti abortion causes in Ireland. In July 2013, he delivered the keynote speech to the All-Ireland Rally for Life.


Ganley was the founder and Chairman of the pan-European political party Libertas and was a candidate for Libertas in the European Parliament election, 2009 in North-West Ireland. Libertas started in 2006 as a lobby group campaigning for a No-vote to the Lisbon Treaty in the Irish Referendum 12 June 2008, and evolved into a pan-European political movement. Libertas ran candidates in 20 European countries for the European Parliament election, 2009. In Rome, on 1 May 2009, Libertas held its first Party Congress.

The Danish Frode Jakobsen Prize of 2008 "for unusual personal courage" was awarded to Ganley, for his tireless campaign in the "face of unconscionable smears".

Libertas's political policies called for greater levels of democracy, transparency, and accountability within the EU, as well as a twenty-five-page alternative to the Lisbon Treaty. The origin of the Party's funding has been questioned.[24][25][26]

Ganley announced that he personally loaned the party €200,000 for the Lisbon Treaty Campaign.[27][28] In 2008, the European Union was reported to ask US Congress about Libertas funding.[29] Gay Mitchell, Irish MEP, questioned whether the Libertas's €1.3 million budget was backed by the CIA or the US military - a claim Ganley and many others openly mocked.[30] Ganley has never provided exact details on the source of funding.[8]

In May 2009, Irish public broadcaster RTÉ ran a Prime Time profile of Ganley. In response, he stated he would launch "significant and extensive legal action against RTÉ and Prime Time".[31] Ganley began legal proceedings in December 2011.[32] An opinion piece published by Bruce Arnold in the Irish Independent claimed Ganley was the victim of a government organised smear campaign.[33] In May 2009, Arnold produced a 156-page book with Ganley, and 100,000 copies in various languages were to be subsequently distributed across Europe by Ganley.[34]

In January 2013, Ganley received an apology and a €50 donation to a charity in an out of court settlement over a defamatory Twitter comment made about him.[35] That same month, he agreed to pay expenses of failed Libertas candidate Raymond O'Malley.[36]

Candidacy to the European Parliament

On 14 March 2009 at a press interview Ganley announced his candidacy for the European Parliament, for Libertas in the North-West constituency.[37] Until 1 May 2009, Ganley traveled all over Europe to campaign against the Lisbon Treaty, and helped local Libertas branches. On 1 May 2009 Libertas held its first Party Congress and afterwards he focused his campaign on the North-West constituency, canvassing, attending public speeches and debates and appearing on radio and TV. One week after he launched his election campaign, incumbent MEP Jim Higgins branded Ganley a "puppet of the US military".[38] In a pre-election opinion poll Ganley polled 9% of first preference votes in the North-West Constituency.[39] On 8 June 2009 Ganley polled over 13% but did not gain a seat in the European Parliament.[40] Ganley then announced his withdrawal from politics.[41]

Second Lisbon Treaty referendum

In September 2009, Ganley announced he would campaign against the second referendum to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.[42] He took part in a televised debate, where he argued with the head of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, who was campaigning in favour of the treaty. During the launch of its posters for the campaign, Ganley was ambushed by a group of young Fianna Fáil members who disrupted the launch. The Irish electorate ratified the Lisbon Treaty and Ganley announced that he would take some time to consider his future in politics.

Alternatives for Ireland

In 2013, Ganley launched a brief speaking tour of Ireland laying out a series of alternative political policies that he believed the country should adopt as it emerged from the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-09.

See also


  1. Hennessy, Mark (22 September 2008). "Nationality of Libertas founder was listed as British in UK records". Irish Times. I am an Irishman, and I resent anybody trying to tell me that I am not.
  2. Hawkins, Ross; Wheeler, Brian (8 May 2009). "Libertas chief sets out Euro stall". BBC News Online.
  3. 1 2 Webster, Ben (25 May 2008). "Profile: Declan Ganley". Sunday Times. London, UK.
  4. "Anti-Lisbon treaty campaign is launched". RTÉ News. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 4 U.S. House of Representatives, Witness Disclosure Requirement, , 11 March 2013; accessed 20 March 2014.
  6. "What will international man of mystery Declan Ganley do next?", Sunday Tribune, 15 June 2008; retrieved 15 March 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 "The naïve child who became Mr No", The Independent, 26 May 2012; accessed 20 March 2014.
  8. "Senát - návštěva z Evropského parlamentu" (English translation). Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic.
  9. "Declan Ganley". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  10. 1 2 de Bréadún, Deaglán (11 March 2009). "Ganley appoints defence industry figures to communications company". Irish Times.
  11. Rivada personnel,; accessed 20 March 2014.
  12. Oversight of FirstNet and Emergency Communications, p. 107, , One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, 14 March 2013; accessed 20 March 2014.
  13. "Ganley firm to help clients put money in Swiss banks" by Donal O'Donovan, The Independent, 11 May 2011; accessed 20 March 2014.
  14. Daly, Gavin (19 March 2006). "US magazine claims Ganley set to become billionaire". The Sunday Business Post.
  15. 1 2 CNBC Profile of Declan Ganley; retrieved 2 November 2008
  16. "Declan Ganley – The King of 45,000 Albanian ShareHolders", Albanian Canadian League Information Service; accessed 20 March 2014.
  17. "Iraq Cellular Project Leads to U.S. Inquiry"

    by T. Christian Miller, Los Angeles Times, 29 April 2004.
  18. 1 2 Keena, Colm (22 October 2008). "Accounts detail Ganley's stake in US firm". Irish Times. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  19. 1 2 "Declan Ganley's Alaskan Pals", The Phoenix, 5 September 2008.
  20. "John Kneuer Keeps Interoperability Focus" by Heather Greenfield, Technology Daily, 18 December 2007.
  21. Fed Spending Rivada Contracts
  22. Keena, Colm (29 October 2008). "Ganley's U.S. contracts could be worth €240m". Irish Times.
  23. "Why secrecy over Libertas funding?". Irish Independent. 8 September 2008.
  24. Keena, Colm (6 December 2008). "Ganley fails to provide clarity on Libertas loan". Irish Times.
  25. "Rivada Networks not funding Libertas 'no' campaign", The Independent, 20 May 2008.
  26. Smyth, Jamie (23 September 2008). "MEPs seeking source of Libertas funding". Irish Times.
  27. Keena, Colm; Hennessy, Mark (25 September 2008). "More information on funding of Libertas given by Ganley". Irish Times.
  28. Crosbie, Judith (26 September 2008). "EU set to ask US Congress about Libertas fundraising". Irish Times.
  29. Fionnan Sheahan, "Anti-treaty group denies getting funding through US military linksHead of anti-Lisbon Treaty campaign group Libertas, Declan Ganley denies any CIA link to the source of his €1.3m funding", The Independent, 3 June 2008.
  30. "Declan Ganley plans to sue RTÉ", RTÉ News, 21 May 2009.
  31. "Ganley takes legal action over RTÉ's Prime Time report" by Niamh Horan,The Independent, 18 December 2011; accessed 20 March 2014.
  32. Bruce Arnold, "Declan Ganley is the victim of a shameful smear campaign", The Independent, 14 February 2009.
  33. John Drennan, "Ganley to publish his 'vision' in new book", The Independent, 3 May 2009; accessed 20 March 2014.
  34. "Declan Ganley receives apology after reaching settlement over defamatory tweet", RTÉ News, 8 January 2013; accessed 20 March 2014.
  35. "Declan Ganley forced to pay €35,000 expenses after being sued by failed Libertas candidate" by Ray Managh, The Independent, 16 January 2013; accessed 20 March 2014.
  36. Declan Ganley announces EP candidacy
  37. Guidera, Anita (23 March 2009). "Ganley is branded a 'puppet of US military'". Irish Independent.
  38. Loscher, Damian (16 May 2009). "Drop in support for FF may not benefit FG". Irish Times.
  40. "Ganley bows out of politics as Kelly sees off Sinnott". The Irish Times. 6 June 2009.
  41. "Ganley attacks Yes campaign's 'half-truths'" by Deaglán de Bréadún and Eithne Donnellan, The Irish Times, 14 September 2009; retrieved 16 September 2009.
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