Shannon representatives were before the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee this afternoon where they were quizzed about the Shannon Development Accounts for 2013.
Much of the session centred on a property transaction in Co Limerick as Deputy Joe Costello and Committee Chairman Deputy John McGuinness grilled them about Shannon Development’s sale of two units to Munster Packaging Ltd.
Deputy Costello claimed that one of the conditions of sale was that the units be solely used for the purchaser’s business and not utilised for speculation. However he said that he understood that since the sale an individual had offered original tenants HL Commodity Foods a 13 year lease.
He claimed that on the face of it, there seemed to have been “flagrant abuse” of the condition that the premises only be for Munster Packaging use.
Ray O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Shannon Commercial Properties said that HL Commodity Foods had made enquiries about acquiring the premises in 2006 and 2008 but had opted not to buy them after receiving prices.
When further questions were put to the Shannon representatives about the issue, Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said they were somewhat “disadvantaged” being new and he asked for some time to prepare a response. However, Chairman John McGuinness abruptly ruled that out. “The answer is no,” he replied.
He said he was surprised with how Mr O’Driscoll had answered the questions put to him and said the matter was arising because HL Commodity Foods had been in touch with the PAC. “Is it not ye’re job to know what’s going on in the area you’re working?” he asked of the Shannon representatives.
Later in the sitting, Mr Pakey said that there had been questions asked about the transaction by a Government department, that answers had been provided and further responses had not been sought.
Mr Driscoll said that he hadn’t been aware of what Deputy Costello had said about a 13-year lease being offered and that he would have to come back to the committee on it.
Mr McGuinness asked for a number of matters to be explained in the response from the Shannon representatives regarding the matter, and he asked that the response be prepared speedily.
He also said that depending on the response it may be necessary to ask them to come before the PAC again.