Sunday 21 February 2010

DDDA report 'delayed' - De Búrca

Former Green Party Senator Déirdre de Búrca has accused Minister for Environment John Gormley of delaying the publication of a report on Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Ms de Búrca said the Minister, who is also Green Party leader, delayed publishing the report on controversial planning at the authority because it would cause "serious discomfort" for Fianna Fáil.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, she alleged that the report, which was carried out by DDDA chair Prof Niamh Brennan, contains evidence of serious malpractice.

She called on Mr Gormley to publish the report and to act on its findings immediately.

It was Ms De Búrca's first interview since she resigned from the Seanad and the parliamentary party last week. She was speaking from the United States.

She told Mr Gormley in her letter of resignation she regretted she could no longer support the Green Party in government.

Ms De Búrca said she believed the Greens had "gradually abandoned our political values and our integrity and in many respects have become no more than an extension of the Fianna Fail party".

"It would appear that holding onto office and to seats have become more important to the party than holding on to its fundamental political purpose," she said.

Responding to the interview, Mr Gormley said two reports were supplied earlier this month and he fully intended to publish them. But he said he was awaiting advice from the Attorney General before making the reports public.

Mr Gormley said Ms de Búrca had "never once raised the DDDA or its operations" with him or his Department.

It was he who had appointed Ms Brennan to "overhaul the authority and address the serious issues facing it".

Fine Gael and the Labour Party called on the Minister to publish the report.

Fine Gael spokesman on environment and local government Phil Hogan said that if Ms De Búrca's comments were to be believed, then Mr Gormley was "actively protecting the political reputation of Fianna Fáil by hiding a report that would cause serious discomfort for them".

“The public is sick and tired of double talk, half-truths and innuendo from Government Ministers. We all want the truth. By refusing to put this report on the public record [Mr] Gormley is adding to the air of mistrust and cynicism around Irish politics while insulting the residents of the Dublin Docklands.

"[Mr] Gormley must publish the report immediately after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting after they had a chance to consider and discuss its findings. It appears that [Mr] Gormley would rather share the findings of the report with the Green Parliamentary Party than with the Dáil," he said.

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said the reports by Prof Niamh Brennan had been on the desk of Environment Minister John Gormley for some weeks ago, and he must publish them without further delay.

He noted Ms De Búrca's contention that the Minister was reluctant to publish the documents because they might cause acute embarassment for their senior partners in Government Fianna Fáil.

"She also claimed that the reports contain evidence of serious malpractice. This may or not be the case, but there is only one way to clear this up, and that is for the Minister to publish the documents immediately."

Irish Times

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