DDDA management recommended Irish Glass Bottle site purchase

Wednesday 26 June 2013 22.26
The Irish Glass Bottle site was bought for €412m in November 2006
The Irish Glass Bottle site was bought for €412m in November 2006

The former chairman of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority has told the Public Accounts Committee that management at the authority recommended to the board that it buy the Irish Glass Bottle site.

However, Lar Bradshaw said management did tell the board that the purchase was happening in an overheated market.

The site was bought for €412m in November 2006, but was subsequently valued at €45m in 2010 by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Mr Bradshaw admitted that the DDDA never got a formal valuation for the site, however he said the board received informal advice that it would be sold for over €400 million.

He said because the Dublin Port company received 33% of the proceeds of the sale of the site, the taxpayer did not lose out on the deal.

However, he said the DDDA did lose €52m and he expressed regret for that.

Mr Bradshaw also said the Government would have been fully aware of the DDDA's plans to buy the Irish Glass Bottle site.

He said the number two civil servant in the Department of Environment, Mary Moylan, was on the board of the DDDA.

He said it was incorrect to suggest information was withheld from Government.

"I don't think it was unreasonable for the board to assume the department knew anything it needed to," he said.

Meanwhile, he denied there was a conflict of interest with Paul Coulson, the businessman whose company South Warf was the main beneficiary of the sale of the site.

Mr Bradshaw said he had dealt with any potential conflict of interest that arose from him being a director of Anglo Irish Bank.

The bank funded the purchase of the Irish Glass Site.

Mr Bradshaw said the issue arose after most of the negotiation regarding the site was concluded.

Originally the purchase was to be funded by another bank but developer Bernard McNamara, who was involved in the consortium with the DDDA, switched lenders.

As soon as the issue arose, Mr Bradshaw said he decided to excuse himself from any discussions at the DDDA board regarding financing of the project.

He said the DDDA received legal advice that showed Mr Bradshaw had erred on the side of caution.

However, he was involved in other aspects of the deal that saw the DDDA buy the Irish Glass Bottle site.