Tuesday 23 January 2018

Sean FitzPatrick 'anxious to help' PAC with glass-bottle site probe

Sean FitzPatrick: has offered ‘direct verbal contact’
Sean FitzPatrick: has offered ‘direct verbal contact’
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

FORMER Anglo Irish Bank boss Sean FitzPatrick is said to be "anxious to help" the Dail's public spending watchdog in its probe into the controversial purchase of the Irish glass bottle site.

Mr FitzPatrick and Lar Bradshaw, another ex-Anglo executive, sat on the board of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DAA) at the time of its involvement in the €400m acquisition of the site in 2006.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) invited Mr FitzPatrick to give evidence at the beginning of May but it is understood that there has been no written confirmation that he will appear yet. A committee source, however, said that the former bank boss was "anxious to help the committee", with direct verbal contact made.

PAC members are expected to be updated on Mr FitzPatrick's position when the committee meets this morning to hear evidence from outgoing financial regulator Matthew Elderfield, who is appearing to discuss separate issues.

A PAC hearing at the beginning of May heard that former Anglo chairman and chief executive Mr FitzPatrick and bank board member Mr Bradshaw declared their position during a DDDA board meeting after it was revealed developer Bernard McNamara was seeking finance from Anglo and Bank of Ireland.

But the DDDA board agreed there was no conflict of interest and the two men remained involved in the meeting.

The decision was later backed by the board's lawyers, according to Department of Environment assistant secretary Mary Moylan, who also sat on the DDDA board at the time.

The 25-acre glass bottle site in Ringsend was bought for more than €400m in 2006 in one of the biggest deals of the building boom. It has since been revalued at a tenth of that price. It was bought by Becbay, a consortium headed by Bernard McNamara which included Derek Quinlan and the DDDA.

The Government is winding up the DDDA on foot of the affair and a damning report from the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Authority's conduct at the time of the sale of the site.

Mr Bradshaw is due before the PAC to discuss the glass bottle site and the C&AG's report on June 26.

Irish Independent

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