Jackson Way may lose compensation

A PROPERTY company, which is seeking 47m in compensation from Irish taxpayers, may not be entitled to a single cent after it was dissolved yesterday.

Jackson Way Properties was struck off by the UK Companies Office for failing to file annual accounts within statutory time limits.

The Birmingham-registered company is currently awaiting a judgment by an independent High Court-appointed arbitrator on a 47m compensation claim against Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council after land it owned was compulsorily acquired for the construction of the final leg of the M50 motorway in South Dublin. Jackson Way is also at the centre of the Flood Tribunal's latest investigation into allegations of planning corruption. The tribunal is currently examining claims by political lobbyist Frank Dunlop that he paid £10,000 in bribes to councillors on behalf of Jackson Way to support the rezoning of its lands at Carrickmines.

Last month, the tribunal accused Jackson Way of obstructing the work of the inquiry after solicitor Stephen Miley announced that he no longer represented the company.

Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Feargus Flood said it was "manifestly clear" the company no longer intended assisting the inquiry after its new English solicitor had advised it against swearing an affidavit of discovery as ordered by the tribunal.

A Birmingham estate agent, Alan Holland, swore that he was the sole director and shareholder of Jackson Way during a separate arbitration hearing last year. However, the tribunal has heard evidence that elusive businessman Jim Kennedy and solicitor John Caldwell were the ultimate beneficial owners of the company with whom former TD Liam Lawlor has also been linked.

All three men are also suspected of being behind another offshore company, Paisley Park Investments the previous owner of the Carrickmines lands. Mr Dunlop has claimed that he was also given £25,000 by Paisley Park to bribe local politicians.

Legal experts said striking off Jackson Way could have a legal impact on the enforcement of any compensation award. "However, it is unlikely that it will prevent the arbitrator from issuing his ruling," said one lawyer. He suggested the local authority could have several grounds to appeal against the payment of compensation "rather than the size of it." Another barrister said the issue also raised questions about ownership of Jackson Way's lands.

Last night, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council law agent Eddie Hughes said he was unaware that Jackson Way had been struck off. Mr Hughes said the local authority would need to explore what effect the company's dissolution would have on any compensation pay-out: "The situation in Ireland is clear in that a company that has been struck off no longer exists as a legal entity, but we will have to take advice about the implications in this situation because we are dealing with a UK company."

Mr Holland did not return calls to his Birmingham office yesterday.

Under UK company law, a firm can apply to the High Court to seek the restoration of its name to the Companies Register.

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