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Docklands chair: Governments had 14 years to close Glass Bottle loophole

Lar Bradshaw says government inaction lost millions for the state in selling the Irish Glass Bottle Company site.

THE FORMER CHAIRMAN of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority has claimed that the State lost tens of millions of euro on the sale of the Irish Glass Bottle Company site in Poolbeg because of the inaction of successive governments.

Lar Bradshaw said a legal loophole – which resulted in the Dublin Port Company getting little over a third of the proceeds from the sale of the site, for €412 million – had been identified by the Law Reform Commission in 1992.

That loophole meant the tenant of the site, under a freehold lease, was able to share in the proceeds of the purchase. As a result, the Dublin Port Company received only 33.6 per cent of the proceeds.

The purchase of the site for €412 million in early 2007 marked the most lucrative sale of any land during the Irish property boom. €291 million of the fee was borrowed, with those debts now taken over by NAMA which now has the power to sell the site if it so chooses.

Speaking at the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee this afternoon, Bradshaw said legal experts had advised the usual split of the proceeds would have been 50-50 – meaning the Dublin Port Company, which was State-owned, lost around €67.5 million in the proceeds.

Bradshaw, who served as chairman between 1997 and 2007, also denied that the taxpayer had lost money on the deal – saying his own authority, which was entirely state owned, put up 26 per cent of the sales price for the Glass Bottle site.

By comparison, the Dublin Port Company had taken 33.6 per cent of the proceeds – meaning one state body received more income than the other had spent.

In his opening statement, Bradshaw said he had been invited to act as chairman of the board by the then-finance and environment ministers Ruairí Quinn and Brendan Howlin.

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He had been keen to take the position as he had grown up in Beaumont and his wife also had family links to the Docklands area.

He further stressed that he had been perfectly happy to accept the invitation to attend the committee – dismissing suggestions that he had been unwilling to attend, saying he had accepted the invitation to attend as soon as he had received one.

Read: Irish Glass Bottle site now subject to possible NAMA sale

More: Why Seán FitzPatrick won’t appear before the Public Accounts Committee

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Gavan Reilly

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