With new corporate governance structures central to the DDDA's survival attention is shifting to the change in culture required there.
The draft governance framework, seen by the Sunday Tribune, is still very much a work in progress and subject to change.
It is an update on previous such documents but in terms of "financial consequences", a single deal stands out for decimating the authority's finances.
Tucked away on page 19 of the draft governance framework, drawn up for chairman Niamh Brennan, for the Dublin Docklands Development authority is a paragraph on "diversification". It states that: "Where the authority proposes to extend or change significantly the nature, scope or scale of its operations, the authority will first consider the financial consequences of such action and its consistency with the objectives under the act and get the consent of the minister".
It was the decision to diversify away from its core area and become involved in the €412m Irish Glass Bottle (IGB) site and the masterplanning of the future development of the Poolbeg peninsula, where the IGB site is located, that caused its dire current financial predicament.
Significantly, DDDA chairwoman Niamh Brennan recently told Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan that she found the question of why the authority got involved with the Irish Glass Bottle site "hard to answer". She said that she had "seen quite an amount of documentation concerning the transaction but I am not fully clear as to what was going on behind the scenes that led to the transaction".
In the meantime, the disastrous decision to purchase "a share in the Irish Glass Bottle site at the height of the property bubble", as she put it, means the DDDA is facing an annual interest bill that is slightly below €5m, the cash payment of which is being rolled up. "We must resolve that issue as the authority cannot continue supporting that level of interest charge on an annual basis," Brennan said. They are in talks with the Department of the Environment and the Department of Finance on all options with regard to the investment.
The acquisition of the IGB site was funded by Anglo and AIB. Brennan has been keen to criticise the influence the now-nationalised Anglo had on the authority. Hogan asked at the recent Oireachtas committee meeting if Lar Bradshaw and Sean FitzPatrick, who were directors of both Anglo and the DDDA, were "not acting as referees… but effectively as ace strikers for Anglo Irish Bank?"
Brennan reiterated that "there were systematic conflicts of interest" between the two organisations because of the common directors. "There are questions about whether, as directors of the authority, the individuals in question owed their duty solely to the good of the authority or whether the authority was engaging in transactions influenced by their outside interests," she said.
The original 'regulatory and governance framework' for the organisation was drawn up in 2005, amended in November of 2007 and will be further amended this year. In its current draft stage it runs to 70 pages and was released to the Sunday Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act.
Directors and employees of the DDDA will have to comply with a section on integrity that states that there should be an "avoidance of the use of the authority's resources for personal gain or the benefit of persons or organisations unconnected with the authority". It also says that the code of conduct will be reviewed and amended at least once every five years.
In relation to the acceptance of gifts, the current draft states that council members, board members and staff of the authority will "not encourage or solicit gifts of any type or nature from members of the public or any group, firm, company or consultant providing services to the authority" and that where a board member of council member is offered a gift "which they believe is of substantial value, then at the earliest relevant opportunity details of the offer should be reported to the board and a record kept of the report".
Where it exceeds €650, the board member or council member must disclose the offer to the chairman before accepting it and the chairman's decision on whether it should be accepted or not will be final. In the case of staff, any gift exceeding €650 must be disclosed to the chief executive, whose decision on whether it can be accepted or not will be final.
In relation to the disposal of assets, the draft framework currently states that "where a bid or tender is accepted which is not the highest bid made then specific approval from the board is required and details of the rationale why the lower bid is being accepted should be noted in the minutes of the board".
This is of interest because when acting chief executive Gerry Kelly was recently asked by the Sunday Tribune if the highest bid for a variant design of the U2 tower won a competition to develop the site, Kelly said he "would not commit himself on that".
The DDDA should now clarify the situation.