herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

Docklands chiefs told 'pay up' over s3m bridge debt

THE troubled Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) owes City Hall €3m over the construction of the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

Now, a councillor has suggested council bosses sue the authority in the Commercial Court in a bid to recoup the late payment.

Fine Gael's Ruairi McGinley told the Herald the €3m is due for road works undertaken for the bridge.

The €60m Liffey crossing, designed by 'star' architect Santiago Calatrava, opened to traffic in December 2009.







Concern

Councillors have expressed concern at the length of the delay, currently running at two years.

"We're trying to get (the money) out of them," Mr McGinley told the Herald. "I imagine they have their own cash issues," he added.

Mr McGinley said the payment is not subject to interest, meaning the €3m is worth less now than it was two years ago.

"I would have a real concern that it hasn't been dealt with," he added. The money is part of an overall €135.4m sum owed to City Hall in development levies.

Some €38.5m has been classified as contributions outstanding at year end 2011.

The remaining €96.9m is listed as deferred development contributions subject to phasing arrangements.

The DDDA had not commented at the time of writing.

A council spokesman said: "Discussions are ongoing between DCC and DDDA in relation to this issue."

A report released to the council's finance committee revealed the extent to which the revenue stream has collapsed.

Income from the property-related charge, which is imposed on developers, peaked in 2007 at €51.6m but stood at just €10.67m last year -- a drop of 80pc.

Between 2004, when the levy scheme began, and 2011, a total of €213.2m was raised by the council.

In its most recent annual report, DDDA chairwoman Niamh Brennan said the authority continued to "operate in difficult circumstances".

She pointed to legacy issues that continued to "overhang the organisation, together with the adverse impact of a further declining property market".

Prof Brennan said: "The docklands project is recognised as a successful model of urban regeneration both nationally and internationally which has delivered major social, economic and environmental benefits to the city of Dublin and the whole of Ireland.







Strenuous

"However, the prevailing economic climate and the authority's past governance failures have overshadowed this success."

She added: "Costs in the authority have been pared to the minimum. As a result, operating results have improved significantly in 2010, compared with 2008 and 2009. Nonetheless, despite strenuous efforts, the executive board has not been able to meet its objective of breaking even."

comurphy@herald.ie

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