Accounts body asked to suspend inquiry
THE PUBLIC Accounts Committee has been asked by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to stand down its investigation the involvement of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) in the purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend because of its possible impact on a separate legal battle on the acquisition.
In a letter sent to the committee last night, Mr Hogan invoked a Standing Order of Oireachtas Éireann which prevents the committee from “enquiring further in public session into matters connected with the special report”.
A report from the Comptroller and Auditor General, published last month, identified a number of significant shortcomings in the DDDA’s financial management, planning function and management of board business. It was particularly critical of the DDDA’s role as part of a consortium that bought the glass bottle site for €431 million in 2007. Most of that investment has been written off and the site is worth €45 million.
Donatex and developer Bernard McNamara, who were part of the consortium, are suing the DDDA in the High Court, for a sum reported to be €100 million. Mr Hogan, in his letter, said he wished to postpone the inquiry until legal proceedings conclude.
Last month, the chairman of the DDDA, Dublin City Manager John Tierney, wrote to the PAC, which acts as the public spending watchdog, seeking a postponement on the same grounds.