THE SINN FÉIN TD Mary Lou McDonald has said that for many people the debacle at the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) “epitomises the worst excesses of the murky relationship between Fianna Fáil, property developers and Anglo Irish Bank”.
She was speaking in the aftermath of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s damning report into the affairs of the DDDA, its purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle Factory site for a total of €431 million and the decision to wind it down, made by the Environment Minister Phil Hogan last week.
“The winding down of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) over the next eighteen months is good news,” McDonald said in a statement today as she urged Hogan to work closely with Dublin City Council to ensure its operations are transferred smoothly.
As a member of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, she said that those involved with the authority, including senior figures from Anglo Irish Bank such as former chief executive Seán FitzPatrick and director Lar Bradshaw, should be compelled to come before the committee.
She said: “Hearings must take place and witnesses must be compelled to attend. Former board members, the Minister who appointed them and senior civil servants who sat on the DDDA board must be brought before the Committee to explain their actions.
The chairman of the committee Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness has already indicated that this may happen with former cabinet ministers including Dick Roche also likely to be requested to appear before the committee.
The C&AG’s report detailed how ministerial approval had only been granted for the authority to participate in a bid of around €220 million for the Glass Bottle site with no evidence that the eventual amount paid was cleared with any of the appropriate government departments.
The site in Ringsend is now part of the National Asset Management Agency’s (NAMA) portfolio and was valued at just €45 million in January of last year.
McDonald added that the debacle at the DDDA was another instance of the taxpayer being made to foot the bill with the bank that provided it loans, Anglo Irish Bank, having since been taken into state-ownership and gradually wound up.
She added: “For many the DDDA epitomises the worst excesses of the murky relationship between Fianna Fáil, property developers and Anglo Irish Bank. Yet again the public purse will be left to pick up the tab.”