Brennan under fire at inquiry into ill-fated docklands deal
The former chief executive of the DDDA says its ex-chairwoman Niamh Brennan ‘rode roughshod’ over corporate governance
Niamh Brennan, the former chairwoman of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, is due to attend before the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts to give evidence to its inquiry
The former chief executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) strongly criticised the authority’s former chairwoman, Niamh Brennan, at a committee hearing in Leinster House yesterday.
Paul Maloney was chief executive of the authority from 2005 to 2009 and was central to the disastrous investment in the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, Dublin, in 2006.
Ms Brennan was appointed to the authority subsequent to the collapse of the property market and oversaw inquiries into the activities of the authority during the boom years.
Mr Maloney, speaking to the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts, said he had “watched aghast” for four years as Ms Brennan “issued report after report on DDDA without ever offering an opportunity for those involved to present their views or have a say”.
He said the reports produced were leaked to RTÉ when only the Minister for the Environment and Ms Brennan had them, “depriving all participants of any natural justice in being able to defend themselves”.
He said the reports contained grievous accusations which had “since been withdrawn or discredited”.
Ms Brennan also sought to have the conclusions of a report prepared by solicitor Declan Moylan altered, he said, “because those conclusions did not blame executives”. He suggested the committee call Mr Moylan as part of its investigation of the Ringsend deal.
Mr Maloney said he was appearing before the committee at his own volition “because I can no longer stand aside as so much disinformation and untruths have been printed about this deal”.
The Ringsend site was bought in 2006 for €412 million in a joint venture involving property developer Bernard McNamara and including bank borrowing of €219 million. The loss to the authority, following the transfer of loans associated with the deal to the National Asset Management Agency, was €52 million.
Mr Maloney said he never saw any act by any member of the board who was also a director of Anglo Irish Bank that was not focused on the interests of the authority. Former Anglo directors Seán FitzPatrick and Lar Bradshaw were on the authority’s board.
He said the authority over the years had come out with a net profit of €80 million, notwithstanding the losses on the Ringsend site. He also said the development of the docks as overseen by the authority was successful and recognised internationally as being so.
Mr Maloney said he was proud of his work with the authority. While mistakes had been made and, with hindsight, he “hugely regretted” the Ringsend deal, neither he nor the board could have known that the property market and the financial system would almost collapse within 18 months of the purchase.
He said he would not accept any propositions from “someone who served on the board of Ulster Bank for six years” when that bank had lost billions.
At that stage he was stopped by PAC chairman John McGuinness, who said Ms Brennan was not present and it was “not fair” to be making repeated criticisms of her.