FINE Gael has called on the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey to make a public statement about a suspect land deal after obtaining a memo under Freedom of Information which shows the minister discussed the matter in 2008.
The party’s transport spokesman Fergus O’Dowd TD and Limerick TD Dan Neville called on the minister to set up a departmental inquiry into activities of the Shannon Foynes Port Company, and to publish a Deloitte & Touche report into the matter.
Mr O’Dowd said a third party made millions by selling 16 acres of land it had obtained in a land swap with the port company.
Fine Gael has obtained a memo under the Freedom of Information Act which showed Minister Dempsey had in 2008 raised concerns about a land transaction involving Shannon Foynes, and had sought additional information.
The memo states: “is there any truth in the story that land sold to a private [company] was not sold in accordance with proper governance procedures and that the land was subsequently sold for €12 million?”
However, the department’s response to the minister’s query has been blacked out in the FoI documentation.
Deputy O’Dowd said: “Minister Dempsey has known about this matter since at least 2008. However, the minister has not provided satisfactory answers, in spite of an ongoing investigation by the Oireachtas Transport Committee. He should at least publish the Deloitte & Touche report into the matter.”
Deputy Neville called on Minister Dempsey to make a full statement, including any information he received on foot of his May 2008 memo. He said: “This matter raises very serious concerns about governance and corporate practice in Shannon Foynes. It is vital we get a clear picture of this particular transaction, as well as typical practices on the company board.”
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