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FitzPatrick, Bradshaw and ministers could be forced to address TDs on Docklands debacle

The Public Accounts Committee chairman says he has the power to compel people to attend meetings if he deems it necessary.

The half-built Anglo Irish Bank HQ, as seen through the offices of the soon-to-be-scrapped Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
The half-built Anglo Irish Bank HQ, as seen through the offices of the soon-to-be-scrapped Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE CHAIRMAN of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee has said that former senior figures in Anglo Irish Bank – including its former chief executive Seán FitzPatrick, and director Lar Bradshaw – could be called in front of the committee to explain the operations of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Committee chairman John McGuinness this morning said they, and possibly other former cabinet ministers including Dick Roche, could be called in front of the committee to discuss the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General into the authority’s affairs, which was published yesterday.

McGuinness told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that his all-party committee would “delve into this issue” to identify any political failings behind the authority’s actions, most prominently the purchase of the former Irish Glass Bottle Factory site for €412 million.

Yesterday’s report outlined that the DDDA had only received ministerial approval to participate in a €220 million bid – and that there was no evidence that the full scale of the planned payment was made known to the appropriate departments before the sale was confirmed.

McGuinness said the PAC would initially examine the decisions taken “by the executive and board members” of the authority, which included the Anglo pair, who were appointed given Anglo’s role in funding most of the development projects within the DDDA’s jurisdiction.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD described the debacle as a “failure of political responsibility”, saying the Departments of Finance and the Environment had allowed the body to develop “completely out of control”.

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Of particular difficulty was the fact that the DDDA took on the role of developer for much of the building works within its boundaries, while also being the sole local planning authority.

“In my opinion, there should have been reporting back in a way that should have allowed the Departments – the final decision makers on this – to take appropriate action,” McGuinness said.

He added that if the DDDA’s evidence suggested there was reason to question former ministers on the authority’s actions, such ministers would also be summoned to give evidence.

Read: Dublin Docklands Development Authority to be wound up, says Hogan

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Gavan Reilly

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