Former docklands chief ‘aghast’ at critical reports

 Paul Maloney: Critical of former chairwoman.

The former chief executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) has launched a strong attack on its former chairwoman Niamh Brennan, saying he “watched aghast” as Ms Brennan issued a number of reports without the participants being able to defend themselves.

Paul Maloney was before the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee where he also said not one cent of taxpayers’ money was ever received or spent by the DDDA despite its €52m in losses on the disastrous Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, Dublin.

Mr Maloney was chief executive of the DDDA at the height of the property boom when it joined up with developer Bernard McNamara and purchased the site for €412m in Nov 2006. It was one of the biggest deals of the decade but the site was valued at €45m in 2010 by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Niamh Brennan was appointed to the authority in 2009 and oversaw a number of investigations.

Mr Maloney, who now works abroad, claimed Ms Brennan issued “report after report” which created “the most negative one-sided destruction of the reputation of the DDDA and containing the most grievous accusations which have since been withdrawn or discredited”. He said it was “regrettable and deplorable” that unsubstantiated allegations were made and he “wholeheartedly” relished the opportunity to speak to the public watchdog.

Mr Maloney said he never misled the Government on the value of the site when the semi-state DDDA was seeking permission from the Department of the Environment to increase its borrowings to €127m.

The C&AG report showed a letter was sent by Mr Moloney to the department which valued the site at €220m, almost half of what was paid weeks later. The DDDA was granted approval for the €127m in borrowings on the back of the €220m valuation.

However, he said he didn’t write the letter, he never saw it, and the signature on it was not his. He said when he saw the letter two days later at a board meeting in Oct 2006, he corrected the sale figure to €375m.

Asked by Labour TD Gerald Nash why he proceeded with the purchase of the site when he knew the property market was overheating, Mr Moloney replied that a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) on Oct 3, 2006, resulted in two options, not to take part or mitigate against it.

Mr Maloney, when he realised the price was well above the €220m, contacted developer Bernard McNamara who was part of the consortium saying the risk was too much for DDDA.

On his instruction the DDDA reduced its part of the deal from 49% to 26% and Mr Moloney said he was somewhat surprised Bernard McNamara didn’t walk away at the time.

When asked by PAC chairman John McGuinness of the alleged extravagant spending by the board of the DDDA such as trips to Finland and Russia, trips to the World Cup and expensive wines, Mr Moloney claimed he knew nothing of such spending and said he would examine it.


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