Former DDDA chief criticises actions of authority’s chairwoman

Paul Maloney tells PAC that he “watched aghast” as Niamh Brennan published her reports on authority

The former Irish Glass Bottle Company site, at Ringsend, Co. Dublin. The former chief executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, Paul Maloney, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to explain his role in the purchase of the site. (Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times)

The former Irish Glass Bottle Company site, at Ringsend, Co. Dublin. The former chief executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, Paul Maloney, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to explain his role in the purchase of the site. (Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times)

 

The former chief executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) has strongly criticised the authority’s former chairwoman, Niamh Brennan, at a committee hearing in Leinster House today.

Paul Maloney was chief executive of the authority at the time of its disastrous investment in the former Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, Dublin, at the latter stages of the property boom. Ms Brennan was appointed to the authority subsequent to the collapse of the property market and oversaw inquiries into the activities of the former board.

Mr Maloney, speaking to the Dail Committee on Public Accounts, said he has “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 RTE 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He said the reports contained grievous accusations which had “since been withdrawn or discredited”.

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 included 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 that he never saw any act by any member of the board that was also a director of Anglo Irish Bank that was not focused on the interests of the authority.

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.

He said that Ms Brennan sought to have the conclusions of a report prepared by solicitor Declan Moylan altered “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 proud of his work with the authority. While mistakes had been made, neither he nor the board could have known that the property market and the financial system would almost collapse within eighteen months of the deal. 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 this stage he was stopped by Mr McGuinness, who said Ms Brennan was not present and it was “not fair” to be making repeated criticisms of her.