In yesterday’s Independent Fionnan Sheahan wrote in praise of Niamh Brennan’s credentials in compiling the long awaited and controversial report, giving out every expectation that it would be as thorough and reliable as it could be.
Frank Connolly is the only journlaist in Ireland who has gone into this issue in real depth and has written extensively about it. I’ll be posting links to those articles asap for people who want to read them – compulsory for anyone who wants to know what has been going on. We asked Frank for a comment on Sheean’s article and this is what he had to say:
It is clear that there has been a fundamental conflict of interest at the heart of the DDDA for several years. It centres on the dual role of former DDDA board member Sean Fitzpatrick and former DDA chairman, Lar Bradshaw, who were also on the board of Anglo Irish Bank the main lender to many of the dockside developments.
Minutes of DDDA board meetings show clearly that Fitzpatrick and later Bradshaw were involved in crucial decisions which affected the profitability of projects Anglo was funding in the docklands over several years. The issue was raised in the Dáil as far back as 1995 by the late Tony Gregory but the then Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, defended the two executives. The beneficiaries of Anglo loans and fast track planning decisions from the DDDA include the developers who were significant donors to Fianna Fáil over the past decade and more. Whether the two reports prepared by Niamh Brennan get to the root of the issue and expose the culture of cronyism and the deep conflicts of interest remains to be seen.