‘I did nothing wrong,’ says TD who accepted €7,500

A FINE GAEL TD accepted donations from developers two years after he raised questions in the Dáil that were of interest to them.

Cork South West TD Jim O’Keeffe has made clear he “did everything according to the book” in accepting the donations in 2007.

Mr O’Keeffe received €2,500 from the Spencer Dock Development Company [SDDC], €2,500 from Havenview Investments and another €2,500 from Treasury Holdings last year.

SDDC and Havenview are linked to Treasury Holdings, who are the developers of Spencer Dock, a major commercial and residential quarter in Dublin which is due to include a national conference centre.

In 2005, the competition for the conference centre was the source of controversy. Two consortiums were left in the bidding for the contract — the Spencer Dock consortium [including Treasury Holdings] and the Anna Livia consortium.

Anna Livia entered an arrangement with the Dublin Port Company which would have seen land at the port being made available for the centre.

This saw Mr O’Keeffe table a series of parliamentary questions about the deal. In a Dáil debate on the matter in June 2005, he expressed concern at the fact that Dublin Port had made available a site “without going through the normal tendering process”.

He said the arrangement between Dublin Port Company and Anna Livia had “all the hallmarks of a sweetheart deal, possibly of the Galway races tent variety”. Other TDs also expressed concerns, including Labour TD Tommy Broughan.

Dublin Port insisted it had not breached Government guidelines by entering the deal and cited legal advice to the same effect.

In the end, it proved irrelevant, as the Spencer Dock consortium won the competition to build the conference centre.

Mr O’Keeffe declared the donations in his return to the Standards in Public Office Commission, which yesterday published the donations received by all TDs, senators and MEPs in 2007.

Mr O’Keeffe said he had checked with the Commission and had been advised he could accept them.

“I did everything according to the book,” he said last night.

It is a regular practice for developers to give donations to TDs, and such donations are perfectly permissible provided any single donation from any one company does not exceed €2,539.48.

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