Ireland exposed to €500m bill in rushed DDDA deal

This afternoon, Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan released documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which detail the process by which the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) was granted a substantial extension to its borrowing allowance.

The documents reveal that Taoiseach Brian Cowen, then Minister for Finance, took just 14 working days to sign off on approval for the DDDA to massively increase its borrowing level, allowing it to enter into a speculative property deal on the Irish Glass Bottle site.

(Picture: The Irish Glass Bottle site is now virtually worthless)

See also: Timeline of correspondences that led to DDDA deal and the full DDDA reports

Audio: The Fine Gael conference at which details of the DDDA deal was revealed:

{mp3 width="400"}State approval of DDDA funding{/mp3}

The Irish Glass Bottle site is now virtually worthless and exposes the exchequer to a potential liability of €500m.

Deputy Hogan today said that the speed with which approval was given meant a number of key issues which could have protected against this exposure were overlooked.

The only site evaluation figure given in the documents is the DDDA’s own figure of €220m. There is no independent evaluation figure in the documents.

Finance officials raised questions about the DDDA’s ability to repay such large borrowing amounts  and the manner in which the DDDA was sourcing finance. However, there is no evidence of any further due diligence exercises being carried out by the Department of Finance.

Phil Hogan today called for accountability. He said: “What we are observing here is state sponsored property speculation, promoted and driven by the DDDA and its board, containing Sean Fitzpatrick and Lar Bradshaw, financed by Anglo Irish Bank and endorsed and supported by the Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen. This goes right to the heart of the type of governance and decision making that has brought our country to its knees. As usual, it is the taxpayer that is faced with the €500m bill for this type of rushed, dangerous and poorly conceived deal.”

He added: “It is now obvious why Minister Gormley is complicit in covering up the core of the corporate governance issues that underpinned this deal. He clearly does not want to examine the issues behind this deal because the trail leads right back to the doors of Brian Cowen, Dean Fitzpatrick and Anglo Irish Bank.”