How and when the DDDA borrowed hundreds of millions
The following is the timeline of events that led to the massive borrowing of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA). This information was obtained by Fine Gael in a Freedom of Information request, the detail of which was made public in a press conference this afternoon.
Read also: Deirdra O'Regan reports from the conference/Audio from the conference
2 Oct 06: Letter from DDDA Chief Executive to the Department of Environment (DoE) seeking permission to use the borrowings to purchase land in a joint venture with private property developers. The chief executive said the DDDA will seek a return of 15% on their investment.
4 Oct 06: The Department of Environment seeks approval from the Minister of Finance for the deal and requests the Department of Finance (DoF) treat the request as priority.
6 Oct 06: An internal DoF email from one section states that their “main concern would be that any semi state borrower has had quotes from a number of banks”. The official offers the further view that “I note that the DDDA seem to want to borrow up to the full statutory limit in one go. This is unusual but it would be a matter for the PED to decide whether this fits within approved plans for the DDDA and that they have the capacity to service the debt without recourse to the exchequer”
9 Oct 06: A Department of Finance official requests confirmation from the Department of the Environment that the DDDA has the capacity to service the debt without recourse to the exchequer, and asks if quotes from other banks were sought.
17 Oct 2006: Letter from the Department of Environment to the Department of Finance providing further information.
18 October 06: A response email from the Department of Finance seeking confirmation that the DDDA propose to repay the proposed borrowings wholly from their own resources and without recourse to the exchequer. The official requests certainty on the issues.
18 Oct 06: A response email from the Department of Environment in which an official states “as far as I am aware the unequivocal answer is yes. They understand that the question of exchequer support does not arise, and that own resources must be capable of supporting the cost of any borrowings entered into.”
23 Oct 06: A note on the request is prepared for Brian Cowen. It sought specific approval for the DDDA to borrow up to €127m for the purpose of acquiring the former Irish Glass Bottle Site and approval for the DDDA to take a stake holding in a special purpose company to be created for the development of the site as a joint venture with a private developer. It also stated that the “the terms of the tender for the site require a full tender to be submitted before 25 Oct. Accordingly a response to two requests has been requested as a matter of urgency”.
23 Oct 06: The minister for Finance Brian Cowen gives his approval for the DDDA to borrow up to €127m and for the DDDA to take a shareholding in a special purpose company to be created for the development of the Irish Glass Bottle site as a joint venture with a private developer.
More: The full 216 pages of the reports on the DDDA (with thanks to www.thestory.ie):