Docklands quango faces axe over damning report

A Government quango is set to be axed, with a report due this week by the country’s public spending watchdog set to reveal a litany of financial mismanagement and planning irregularities.

The Government is preparing to abolish the Dublin Docklands Development Authority on foot of the findings of an inquiry by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Phil Hogan, the environment minister, will brief the Cabinet later this week on the C&AG’s highly critical report which exposes how taxpayers have been exposed to multimillion-euro losses as a result of the DDDA’s disastrous involvement in acquiring the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend.

It outlines a history of poor governance and bypassing of formal procedures to fast-track planning decisions by DDDA management.

Instead of Dublin City Council, the DDDA is the planning authority for 1,300 acres in the city’s docklands area. It is also tasked with leading regeneration of the land.

The Government appears poised to return responsibility for planning to the council.

However, it is understood the & report praises the efforts made by the new board under chairwoman Niamh Brennan — the wife of former Progressive Democrats leader and ex-attorney general Michael McDowell — for working to overhaul past problems within the DDDA.

The inquiry sharply criticises a series of conflicts of interest by former DDDA board members — including banker Seán Fitzpatrick — many of whom had strong links with former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

The Irish Glass Bottle site was bought in 2006 at the height of the property boom by the DDDA in con-junction with developers Bernard McNamara and Derek Quinlan for €412m.

The two sides are now in dispute over the deal in a case which is due to come before the High Court later this year.

The C&AG’s report claims the State faces additional losses on the project due to the DDDA’s decision to provide guarantees to the two developers.

A receiver was appointed to the property by Nama last month.

It is believed the C&AG’s report also found serious mismanagement over the failure of DDDA executives to inform their board of a secret deal they had completed with another developer, Liam Carroll.


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