| 0.9°C Dublin

HOW a basketcase bank and the powerful planning authority are linkedl Just what is the DDDA?

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) was formed in 1997, just as the Celtic Tiger was beginning to roar, to redevelop Dublin's Docklands. It is responsible for 526 hectares (over 1,300 acres) of prime waterfront real estate. Within this area it has wide discretion and it, not Dublin City Council, is the local planning authority. The availability of such a large area of undeveloped land close to the city centre and the DDDA's virtually unfettered planning powers have made the area a magnet for property developers.



  • What are the links between the DDDA and Anglo?

At times it has seemed as if the two organisations were joined at the hip. Former Anglo chairman and chief executive Sean FitzPatrick was a director of the DDDA until April 2007 while Lar Bradshaw, a former non-executive director of Anglo, was chairman of the DDDA until April 2007.

In December 2008 both FitzPatrick and Bradshaw were forced to resign from the Anglo board when details of FitzPatrick's concealed loans from the bank emerged.



  • But surely that's all in the past. Are there now any other links between the two bodies?

Bradshaw was replaced as DDDA chairman by Donal O'Connor, who also joined the Anglo board in July 2008. When FitzPatrick was forced to quit as Anglo chairman he was replaced by O'Connor, who stepped down as DDDA chairman at the same time to avoid any conflict of interest.



  • Anglo was very much known as the "developers' bank". Are Anglo and the DDDA jointly involved in any property development schemes?

Yes they are. In 2006 the DDDA was part of a consortium which paid a massive €412m for the 24-acre site of the former Irish Glass Bottle factory at Ringsend. This purchase was largely financed by a €293m loan from Anglo Irish. This week DDDA chief executive Paul Maloney told an Oireachtas committee that the consortium was no longer paying interest on this debt, which is being renegotiated.

To the ordinary man on the street it would appear that one state-owned company, the DDDA, is apparently defaulting on a loan to another state-owned company, Anglo Irish Bank, which was nationalised last month. Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.



  • But most developers are seeking to renegotiate the terms of their loans with their bankers?

Yes, but this isn't the only financial quandary the DDDA has landed itself in. Last October the DDDA lost a High Court action brought against it by developer Sean Dunne. Dunne was challenging the planning permission granted by the DDDA to rival developer Liam Carroll to build a €200m office complex, which would have housed Anglo's new headquarters, on North Wall Quay. Following the High Court ruling legal experts reckon that Carroll will be able to sue the DDDA for tens of millions of euro. This combination of the Ringsend loan and the fallout from Dunne case has led to Fine Gael questioning the DDDA's solvency.



  • Are there any other links between the DDDA and Anglo that we don't already know about?

Very good question. The facts have emerged in dribs and drabs. If the rumour machine is to be believed there may be more to come out.