News

Cronyism in the Dublin Docklands

Fianna Fail cronyism in the Dublin
Docklands will cost the state billions,
Malachy Steenson reports

A report into the cronyism that blighted the work of the Dublin Dockland Development Authority is being withheld from the public by Green leader John Gormley in an attempt to cover up for widespread Fianna Fail aided corruption.

Gormley, withholding Docklands report

The report carried out by current DDDA boss Niamh Brennan is believed to partially reveal the links between the Board of the DDDA, Anglo Irish Bank and a number of Fianna Fail connected developers in failed property speculation projects which are likely to cost the state billions of euros and leave much of the Dublin docks a half build wasteland.

The report has been in the possession of Minister for the Environment Gormley for some time. He has so far refused to publish it, he and other government ministers are now claiming that they await the attorney Generals advice before publication, this means that if and when it is published it will have so many blanked out passages that it is likely to be unintelligible.

Brennan, the wife of former PD leader, Michael McDowell, was instructed to carry out an “independent report”. However, some local residents have complained that there was no attempt to ascertain information from them or measure the adverse social impact of the failed schemes. It is also questionable whether the report’s remit even allowed for a proper analysis of government members role in the DDDA debacle.

DDDA now has a deficit of at least €230m which will be made up by the taxpayer. This arises in part from the purchase of the Glass Bottle site, which the DDDA claims is now worth €50m.
However, looking at figures coming before the Commercial Court in other matters it would seem that if the DDDA was to offload this site they would have to pay someone to take it as the costs of clean up due to methane gas contamination would be enormous.

In order to acquire this site the DDDA borrowing power was extended by Brian Cowen as Minister for Finance. He also authorized the DDDA to guarantee the interest payments on loans of several hundred million from Anglo Irish Bank this was while two directors of this bank sat on the DDDA board.

Many other DDDA projects are similarly expected to come under the remit of NAMA, with the state covering billions in losses The area which was controlled by the DDDA was extended from the Docklands up to the North Strand Road for the sole purpose of the DDDA buying the Readymix site for an inflated value.

The result of this on the ground is that almost all the commercial property on one side of North Road is now derelict. Of course another of the favoured few was able to complete developments on the Ossory Road, now within the DDDA area. There was no consultation with residents in relation to this extension. It is imperative that Brennan’s report is published in full.

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1 Comment

  1. Malachy Steenson
    March 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Press release issued on the 25th March following the RTE leaking of the DDDA reports

    Taxpayers robbed of untold millions by a well-connected clique

    Speaking after RTE revealed the contents of the Docklands investigations, Malachy Steenson, Workers’ Party representative in Dublin Central stated: “These reports highlight corruption and reckless disregard for the public good. These people have robbed the taxpayers of untold hundreds of millions of Euros. Those responsible for this theft from the public purse must be brought to justice”.

    “There are mothers and children from the docklands regularly dragged before the Courts and jailed for being unable to pay their television licence fee of €160 or for petty crime while board members of the DDDA still live the highlife”.

    “The leaked Docklands reports reveal a scandal of huge proportions with no shred of mitigating evidence. The scandal appears at all levels, corporate governance, financial management, planning, and risk management”, said Mr. Steenson.

    “The documents which have now entered the public domain highlight in the starkest fashion the failures of Celtic Tiger economics and the workings of the Golden Circle”.

    “In the case of the Irish Glass site the golden circle, in the personage of Bernard McNamara and the Davy private client list, used money which the did not have, to buy a site which they did not need, at terms and conditions available to nobody else in the state, and all guaranteed by the misfortunate taxpayers of this country. The so-called entrepreneurs and risk-takers were wrapped in cotton wool and, had the deal proceeded as they expected, they would have pocketed millions. There were no PPPs in the Docklands. There were only sweetheart deals, and we can be sure that the ethos that pervaded the Docklands also pervaded other areas of Irish life where huge amounts of money were sloshing about”.

    Mr Steenson continued “The Workers’ Party have consistently raised the issue of the role of the Docklands Council during this whole debacle. This body, largely populated by city councillors of all hues, was supposed to be the public watchdog, the public’s guarantor in the affairs of the Docklands’ Authority. They failed miserably. The question must be asked, were they deliberately kept in the dark by a management clique, or were they happy to be kept in the dark once the wine kept flowing?”

    “Finally” said Mr Steenson “we must ask by what process did the DDDA become the DDPC, the Dublin Docklands Property Company? Why, and by whose authorisation, did the DDDA expand from its specific geographic location to extend to the North Strand almost a mile and a half from the docklands. By what stretch of the imagination could the Fire Station and cement factory on the North Strand or the Glass Bottle site at Ringsend be seen as docklands? Who authorised the purchase of the Readymix site for over €25m and for whose benefit was that decision made? For many years when community projects in the North Strand Area sought funding they were told that they did not qualify as they were outside the Docklands area. The last boats to sail up the Tolka in anger were the Viking long-ships, and that’s almost 1,000 years ago.”

    “The DDDA report truly buries the Celtic Tiger. It also buries the reputation of the Fianna Fáil / PD government of that era, and then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in particular. This was Bertie’s baby. Now, after all the DDDA billions are spent, the children of the North East Inner City are relegated to live as second class citizens yet again, receiving inadequate education in schools which should have been replaced 20 years ago and consigned in many cases now to a life of misery and drug addiction. This is the legacy of the man who would be President”, said Malachy Steenson.

    Issued 25th March 2010