Sunday 4 December 2016

DDDA did not offer to fast-track plans for bottle site, court told

Tim Healy

Published 25/03/2010 | 05:00

FORMER Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) boss Paul Maloney did not make "representations" to developer Bernard McNamara to get him involved in buying the €412m Irish Glass Bottle site in Dublin, it was claimed yesterday.

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While Mr Maloney wrote to Mr McNamara in October 2006 concerning the site, the DDDA has denied he "represented" the authority and could fast-track permission for its development or could procure a Luas route to the site, Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told yesterday.

The DDDA also pleads any losses suffered by Mr McNamara and his company Donatex over the glass bottle site acquisition are not attributable to its alleged failure to fast-track permission for the site as, it claims, such permission always had to be approved by the Minister for the Environment. In Commercial Court proceedings against the DDDA, Mr McNamara has claimed these and other alleged "representations" by Mr Maloney persuaded him to get involved in bidding for the site and ultimately exposed him to claims of more than €108m.

Mr McNamara claims, following a separate case in which it was found the DDDA acted outside its powers in how it fast-tracked permission for another docklands development at North Wall Quay, the DDDA was never entitled to enter into an agreement involving himself and developer Derek Quinlan related to development of the site.

The DDDA was unable to perform its obligations under that glass bottle site agreement and had therefore frustrated the ability of Mr McNamara and others to develop the site, meaning very substantial losses for them, it is alleged.

Mr McNamara said he faced potential claims totalling more than €108m on foot of loans raised from Anglo Irish Bank and private investors with Davy Property Holdings Ltd and also on foot of personal guarantees given by him over those loans.

The proceedings by Mr McNamara and Donatex against the DDDA were before Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday to deal with legal disclosure (discovery) issues.

Tender

The judge ruled discovery up to January 2007 relating to the alleged representations was adequate and the additional discovery sought was irrelevant and not necessary.

In his case, Mr McNamara claims the Dublin Port Company and South Wharf plc had advertised the glass bottle site for sale by tender in September 2006. He claims Mr Maloney approached him a month later about becoming involved with the DDDA and submitting a bid for the site.

He claims Mr Maloney made several later representations to him, including that the DDDA could procure a route for the Luas to the site and, as a planning authority, could "fast-track" any application for permission for development.

It was in those circumstances Mr McNamara alleges he would be prepared to consider a joint bid with the DDDA for the site.

A company called Beebay Ltd was later incorporated and used by Mr McNamara and the DDDA to bid for the site.

Mempal Ltd, a company controlled by Derek Quinlan, later acquired an interest in Beebay. In November 2006, Donatex held 41pc, Mempal 33pc and DDDA 26pc of Beebay.

Beebay acquired the site for €412m with funds of some €288m from Anglo Irish Bank, €57.5m from Donatex, €32.1m from the DDDA and €46.3m from Mempal.

Mr McNamara claims it was a condition of the loans to Beebay he provide a guarantee for €41m of the sum advanced to Beebay and also for 41pc of all interest payable by Beebay. The case continues.

Irish Independent

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