There was intense interest in the High Court case taken by Clare developer Bernard McNamara against the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) over alleged agreements about planning applications. The case was initiated in 2009 and relates to the infamous 25-acre Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend in Dublin bought in 2006 for €412m by a consortium including the DDDA, Bernard, Derek Quinlan and investors introduced by Davy stockbrokers – the freehold and leasehold sellers were a state company and – the big winner in the deal – Paul Coulson’s company, South Wharf PLC.
Previous mentions of the case have given us some flavour of the hubris in the DDDA in 2006 with staff there allegedly seeing the €412m purchase of the site as expanding the influence of the DDDA and enhancing/securing their own personal positions and careers.
Bernard was suing the DDDA over alleged agreements and centrally, an alleged agreement whereby the DDDA was committing to obtaining planning permission for the site. There is a separate case being taken by the Davy clients against Bernard himself.
But all of this litigation has been thrown into doubt with the development last November 2012, when Bernard was declared bankrupt in London. As is usual in bankruptcies, the bankruptcy trustee is now trying to assess the merits of outstanding litigation and whether or not to pursue litigation on behalf of the bankrupt, and in pursuance of this, the DDDA has been ordered by Judge Peter Kelly in the Commercial Court in Dublin yesterday to produce its witness statements within the next two weeks, and the case is set for mention in four weeks when it is anticipated the trustee will indicate if he wishes to pursue the case – no doubt the DDDA has its fingers crossed that he decides to abandon the case, many others hope it proceeds so that we get a better insight into the operation of the DDDA.
The DDDA expressed concerns yesterday that because of Bernard’s bankrupt state, he would have issues with meeting any legal costs should he lose the case. That concern wasn’t apparently dealt with yesterday, though in Irish courts, poverty is generally not a bar to pressing ahead with legal action.
[There is a feature blogpost on the Irish Glass Bottle site, its history and the 2006 deal, here]