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Fitzpatrick called to be questioned on Dublin docklands development

Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe has called for Seán Fitzpatrick and a number of other people to appear before Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee.

Former Chairman and Chief Executive of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick
Former Chairman and Chief Executive of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

SEAN FITZPATRICK, LAR Bradshaw and other members of the board from the Dublin Docklands Development Authority are to be called before the Public Accounts Committee.

The call was made today during a meeting of the committee, which is currently discussing the issue of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), which is in the process of being wound down.

Last year, PAC member Mary Lou McDonald TD described the DDDA debacle as epitomising “the worst excesses of the murky relationship between Fianna Fáil, property developers and Anglo Irish bank”.

She had been speaking following the publication of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s damning report into the DDDA. The report covered the DDDA’s purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle Factory site for a total of €431 million.

PAC Committee

While speaking at the PAC committee meeting today, Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe questioned Mary Moylan of the Department of Environment management advisory committee.

Donohoe questioned why one board meeting was held in San Sebastian in 2006, and was told this was because it coincided with a study visit to a relevant docklands area.

The chief executive of the DDDA was Paul Maloney. Moylan said that Maloney was involved with negotiations over the developer, and that he had said the developer wished to maintain anonymity.

Moylan said that the question of procurement for a partner was raised and the authority executive was asked to get legal advice in relation to a procurement issue.

It did take legal advice, which was available for the next meeting. Donohoe put it to them that legal advice should have been sought first before the decision was taken to partner with a developer.

Cost

Donohoe questioned Moylan on the “huge variation” of estimates of the cost of the Irish Glass Bottle Factory site. A letter to Ms Moylan said the value of the site was approximately €220million.

A figure of between €275 – 375milllion to acquire the site was mentioned in the minutes of a board meeting, but the letter written to Moylan eight days before the meeting mentioned a figure of €220 million for the site.

Donohoe questioned why there was such a gap between the two figures and asked if Maloney indicated the difference to Moylan and the board.

Moylan said she was not aware if the higher figure was communicated to the Department of Environment.

Donohoe commented:

What I am stunned by is the fact that the that figure and how high it could be was never communicated back to the department.

He contends that as the figure went up, it should have been communicated to the Department of the Environment.

Donohoe also asked about a board meeting that took place via teleconference and included Sean Fitzpatrick, then of Anglo Irish Bank.  Members were told that there might be a perception of conflict as two people taking part in the meeting were non-executive directors of Bank of Ireland and Anglo Irish Bank respectively.

Donohoe asked that as BOI and AIB were foremost in supplying investment in large property deals at that time, “did it not occur to anyone in the previous two meetings” that these banks might have been involved.

Moylan said the board asked that the authority’s legal advisors examine the manner in which the board had looked at and dealt with the conflict of interest in the light of the code of practice and the legal advice that came back was that it had been handled correctly.

Donohoe said he believes the committee should get a “full view of what’s happened here” and in order to do this, they should invite in the board, including Bradshaw and Fitzpatrick to answer questions.

The members agreed to his suggestion and arrangements are to be made for this to take place.

Read: DDDA fiasco shows ‘murky relationship between FF, developers and Anglo’ – TD>

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