Sunday, 14 March 2010

Docklands executives are allowed to respond to report before publication

The publication of a report into the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is on hold while senior executives who worked in the state agency are given an opportunity to respond to criticisms of them in the document.

The report, ordered by the DDDA chairman Niamh Brennan, a corporate governance expert, is understood to contain criticisms of the way the semi-state body was run.

The DDDA reported losses of €213 million last year after disastrous property investments, which have threatened the solvency of the agency and raised the prospect of a taxpayer-bailout.

The agency’s investments included the purchase of the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend for over €412 million in a joint venture with property developer Bernard McNamara and financier Derek Quinlan.

The value of the site is now estimated at €62.5 million.

The Sunday Business Post understands that the report, commissioned from an independent consultant, does not single out particular individuals, but is critical of the operations of the agency.

The Attorney General has advised environment minister John Gormley that senior staff and executive board members of the DDDA need to be given the opportunity to comment on the report. Their responses will then be considered before the report’s publication, which is not expected until Easter.

According to sources familiar with the findings of the report, it does not speculate on the relationships between the agency and other bodies, but is highly critical of how the DDDA operated. One source said it explained how the agency operated, but not why.

The DDDA had the job of regenerating the area around the River Liffey, but also had planning powers for the area.

It is understood that the report will be critical of the arrangement whereby the authority was both developer and planning authority. The DDDA has also been criticised for conflicts of interest on its board.

Two senior directors, chairman Lar Bradshaw and Sean FitzPatrick, were on the board of Anglo Irish Bank, which was involved in financing many DDDA developments.

Sunay Business Post

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