Repeatedly linked in recent years to ill-fated boom-time property deals, including the calamitous investment in the Irish Glass Bottle Site, the authority’s annual report and accounts for 2009 show that its new hair-shirt mindset is already paying dividends.
Significant progress has been made in tackling the Authority’s operating deficit. On an operating basis before impairments, the deficit of the authority for 2009 was €7.4m, a vast improvement on €27m in 2008. Some 58% of employees have been shed, from 64 staff in early 2009 to 27 now.
Newly appointed DDDA chairman Prof Niamh Brennan said: “On behalf of the Executive Board, I would like to apologise for the fact that we’re not yet at break-even. We will redouble our efforts to achieve this challenging target.
“Clearly, [past] decisions have had an enormous detrimental impact on our operations and on our financial position in particular. There is zero tolerance for any compromise on corporate governance issues. We cannot undo controversial decisions of the past, but we can and will make sure such mistakes are never repeated.”
At the end of 2009, the Docklands Authority faced impairments, losses and other writedowns on its various property assets of €10.3m (2008: €186m). This figure includes its 26% stake in Becbay Ltd, which purchased the Irish Glass Bottle site.
The DDDA ended 2009 with a deficit of €18.6m. This compares very favourably with 2008’s €213m deficit.
At the end of 2009, the authority had net assets in its own single entity balance sheet of €4m, versus 2008’s net assets of €26m.
At the end of 2009 the authority had a net deficit in its consolidated balance sheet of €71m, versus 2008’s net deficit of €48.5m.
Prof Brennan concluded: “Our first priority must be to live within our means on a day-to-day operating basis and we are determined to achieve this as quickly as possible.”