Sunday 15 December 2019

Report on DDDA sent to ex-board members

Docklands body tells recipients to respond to findings within days


ALL former board members and executives at the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) have received copies of the heavily-anticipated report into the organisation's corporate governance for their response prior to its publication, which is now expected within weeks.

The Sunday Independent has learned that a draft copy of the report was sent to several former DDDA board members as well as its former chief executive Paul Maloney last week for their response.

The report, which was drawn up by independent consultants at the direction of the DDDA's chairwoman, Prof Niamh Brennan, was distributed following advice from the Attorney-General.

It is understood the individuals who received the report have been instructed by the DDDA to respond to the findings in relation to them by this coming Wednesday.

Their responses will be returned to the Attorney-General for advice. Having considered the final report's contents, Environment Minister John Gormley will present it to the Cabinet.

While former Green Party Senator Deirdre De Burca provoked a political furore last month with her suggestion that the docklands report would cause "serious discomfort" for Fianna Fail, the Sunday Independent understands that the report contains no reference to any Fianna Fail politician.

Nor does it contain any reference to political interference in the administration or activities of the DDDA.

Controversy has dogged the organisation since the collapse of the property market.

The DDDA's involvement in a consortium, along with developer Bernard McNamara and financier Derek Quinlan, in the €412m acquisition of the former Irish Glass Bottle site in 2006 has proved to be a flashpoint for public anger, given the implosion in its value to €50m since then.

The involvement of Anglo Irish Bank as lead financier for the deal has merely served to heighten that disquiet.

But while a spokesman for the DDDA insisted that the authority was keen to see the report into the docklands published as soon as possible, the prospect of a legal action which could delay this already appears to be looming.

The Sunday Independent has learned that several former members of the board are considering their legal positions, claiming that they were not consulted during the compilation of the report.

Separately, there is suspicion amongst a number of the individuals concerned that the deadline demanded by the DDDA for response to the report's findings was decided upon to coincide with the timing of the Green Party's annual convention which gets under way two days later.

One former DDDA board member who received a copy of the draft report claimed that the DDDA's timing was "hugely cynical" and designed to facilitate Green Party leader John Gormley in advance of facing his party's members.

Asked if the report would be finalised in time for the Green Party convention, or even if it would be published in the immediate future, a senior government source dismissed any suggestion that the publication's timing was in any way politically inspired or motivated.

"The timing of the publication of the DDDA report will depend entirely on the length of time it takes for it to be given its final consideration by the Attorney-General," the source said.

Sunday Independent

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