Wednesday 17 January 2018

Docklands chiefs boasted of 'secure pensions' after deal

Developer claims DDDA acted outside its powers in purchase of Irish Glass Bottle site

Tim Healy

AN email declaring "happy days" and "our pension is now secured" was sent after the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) approved its involvement in buying the Irish Glass Bottle site at Ringsend, the Commercial Court has heard.

The email, sent on November 1, 2006, by DDDA member Thomas Mulligan, was part of a chain of emails circulated to the directors of the authority by the personal assistant to former DDDA CEO Paul Maloney.

The email is contained in court documents obtained by developer Bernard McNamara, whose Donatex company was one of the parties later involved in the purchase of the glass bottle site for €412m.

The email stated: "Happy days. Congratulations to Paul and the team. Our pension is now secured," Mr McNamara said.

The DDDA, having overseen much of the development of the docklands, "had of course perpetuated itself by entering into this transaction", Mr McNamara said in an affidavit.

Mr Maloney had emailed the same day that the agreement "presents a major opportunity for the DDDA to create influence and expand its role in the Poolbeg peninsula".

These and other documents obtained for court proceedings showed, such was "the determination" with which the DDDA pursued the site, neither it nor its advisers ever fully considered its legal entitlement to enter into the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Mr McNamara and Donatex to purchase a public company, Mr McNamara said.

Mr McNamara has claimed, following a 2008 High Court finding, that 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 the November 2006 agreement as that was similar to the overturned North Wall agreement.

Mr McNamara, Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, and Donatex Ltd, Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, has sued the DDDA claiming it was unable to perform its obligations under the glass bottle site agreement and therefore frustrated the ability of Mr McNamara and others to develop the site, meaning very substantial losses for them.

At the Commercial Court yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Kelly received Mr McNamara's 31-page affidavit grounding his application for a preliminary hearing on whether the DDDA had power to enter into the November 2006 agreement.

Mr McNamara claims, if the court decides the DDDA had no such power, that determines the full court proceedings in his favour.

Irish Independent

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