Saturday 7 December 2019

Docklands authority told to give evidence in glass bottle site case

Tim Healy

THE Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) has been asked by a judge to provide witness statements in the action by bankrupt developer Bernard McNamara concerning the controversial €412m sale of the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend.

A UK official administering Mr McNamara's bankruptcy had asked for, and is entitled to see, the witness statements before deciding whether or not to continue the action against the DDDA in the interests of Mr McNamara's creditors, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said.

He was responding to an application in the Commercial Court yesterday by Brian Kennedy SC, for the DDDA, as to how the litigation by Mr McNamara and his company, Donatex Ltd, should continue, given the bankruptcy.

The case was initiated in 2009 but has been delayed due to several factors. As a bankrupt, Mr McNamara cannot himself continue the proceedings, and the trustee was appointed just last November.

Mr Kennedy said the DDDA, as a public body, had concerns about the costs of the litigation, as both Mr McNamara and Donatex were short of money. The authority was anxious to avoid unnecessary costs, he said.

Mr Justice Kelly said he was sympathetic to the trustee's request for more time to consider the position. The witness statements would have to be delivered, although the case "has a big question mark over it" given the previous "extraordinary carry on" concerning the shareholding (in Donatex), the judge said.

The trustee was entitled to "as complete a picture" as possible.

The judge directed that the statements be delivered within two weeks and adjourned the matter for four weeks, when the trustee is to outline whether he intends to proceed with the action. Other issues will also be addressed then.

In March 2011, in a dispute over the shareholding in Donatex, Mr McNamara said he had "inadvertently" resigned from Donatex in January in the course of resigning as a director from some 60 other companies after receivers were appointed to those companies by NAMA. Mr McNamara said this resignation was a "cause of great embarrassment" to him and he wished to apologise to the court over it. Steps had been taken to address the matter, he said.

In their proceedings, Donatex and Mr McNamara have claimed the DDDA had no lawful power to enter into the November 2006 glass bottle site agreement and was unable to perform its obligations under the deal, therefore frustrating the development of the site and causing substantial losses for them.

Irish Independent

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