Company disputes Mick Wallace claims about purchase of Dublin garda headquarters

Hibernia REIT calls Wexford TD's allegations 'ill-informed, inaccurate and without foundation'

Company disputes Mick Wallace claims about purchase of Dublin garda headquarters

File photo of TD Mick Wallace leaving the Commercial Court in Dublin | Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

A company that bought the site of garda regional headquarters in central Dublin last year has denied a claim that it used insider knowledge to secure the purchase.

TD Mick Wallace yesterday called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to explain why NAMA was allowed to sell the four building blocks rather than keep them in state ownership.

The Wexford deputy told the Dáil that Hibernia REIT is taking legal action to remove gardaí from the Harcourt Street station.

“[The company that now owns the site] was set up by a guy who was a big player in NAMA where he was a portfolio manager for three years,” he said.

Mr Wallace claimed the former NAMA official “used his insider knowledge regarding the agency's assets to line up investment funds that would provide the finance for the new company”.

He alleged the company “did remarkably well in purchasing former NAMA assets, many of which this gentleman was involved with”.

Mr Kenny said in response that any allegations of wrongdoing should be brought to gardaí.

In a statement, Hibernia REIT called the claims “ill-informed, inaccurate and without foundation”.

“Harcourt Square was sold by NAMA to Starwood Capital in 2013, as part of a large portfolio of assets called Project Aspen,” it said.

“Hibernia acquired the property from Starwood Capital in February 2015.

“Hibernia REIT is an Irish-listed and regulated public company that is investing in Ireland for the long term.

“It is disappointing that Deputy Wallace has used the protection of Dáil privilege to make a range of untrue allegations.”

The company bought the 1.9 acre site in February 2015 for €70 million. It secured planning permission for the second phase of its redevelopment last month.