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Andrew Lynch: Why Gormley has to publish DDDA report now or be damned

Hell hath no fury like an ex-Green Party senator scorned.

Deirdre de Burca's political career may be over, but she seems determined to use her sudden resignation to cause as much discomfort to her ex-colleagues as possible.

Now she's lobbed a hand grenade into Government Buildings from across the Atlantic, which Brian Cowen and John Gormley must defuse as quickly as possible if they don't want it to blow up in their faces.

When de Burca issued her anguished resignation statement ten days ago, it contained just one specific accusation.

She claimed that Gormley was delaying the publication of a controversial report about the activities of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, which is €213m in debt and needs a Government bailout.

Yesterday, she took that claim one step further, using a radio interview from the US to predict that the report will contain "evidence of serious malpractice".

If de Burca knows what she is talking about, this could have devastating consequences for the Government's long-term stability.

One of the key questions the report must answer is whether the DDDA followed the correct procedures when it tendered for its goods and services.

The man who was responsible for signing off the borrowing bills for some of its worst decisions, such as the purchase of the Ringsend Irish Glass site that cost €412m in 2006 and is now worth just €50m, was none other than Minister for Finance Brian Cowen.

In other words, this report could end up exposing the type of Fianna Fail-led planning disasters that the Greens were set up to oppose.

It could also raise awkward questions about why so many of the DDDA's board members had connections to the now infamous Anglo Irish Bank, including its disgraced ex-chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

Just to add another layer of irony, the report has been carried out by chairwoman Niamh Brennan, wife of Michael McDowell -- the man who was once Gormley's bitter constituency rival and whose dithering over alleged FF corruption cost him his Dail seat in Dublin South East.

It's hardly surprising, then, that de Burca's ex-colleagues have been falling over themselves in the rush to discredit her as quickly as possible.

Dan Boyle used Twitter to describe her interview as "more sad than interesting", adding "it was insinuation and half truths that unfortunately will be believed by many".

John Gormley has gone even further, insisting that "what she is saying now bears no relation to the truth" -- which comes as close to calling her a liar as makes no difference.

They are both adamant that there is no way she could know what is in the report and claim that she never even raised it at party meetings, yet another direct contradiction of her RTE interview yesterday. So is she just shooting her mouth off?

There is no doubt that her saintly image has been tarnished by the fallout from her resignation, when she moaned that she had been promised and then denied a position in the cabinet of new EU commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Leaving on a point of principle is one thing, walking off in a huff because you failed to land a plum post in Brussels is not exactly designed to garner much public sympathy at a time of mass unemployment.

On one level, her exit may even have done them a favour, since her claim that FF were "running rings" around the junior coalition partners finally goaded them into seeking the head of Willie O'Dea and restoring at least some of their battered credibility.

No matter what anyone thinks of de Burca, however, the fact remains that she has put some very serious allegations into the public domain.

John Gormley must publish the DDDA report as quickly as possible, allow Cowen the chance to defend himself and then let the public make up their own minds.

Deirdre de Burca has portrayed her ex-leader as a weakling who clings to power because he is terrified of facing the electorate. He has not done a lot so far to prove her wrong.


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