|The site of the former Irish Glass Bottle plant, Ringsend, Dublin (within red contours). It was purchased at the peak of the boom in 2006 for €412 million, by a consortium led by developer Bernard McNamara. In the same year, Ireland's biggest bank AIB, sold part of its Dublin headquarters, the Bank Centre, to developer Seán Dunne.|
The former manufacturing plant site of the Irish Glass Bottle Company, was sold for €412 million in 2006, the craziest year of the Irish property bubble. An Irish State agency was among the purchasers while the owner was the Dublin Port Company, a private limited company owned by the State. Now as legal proceedings are underway in the Commercial Court, it's unclear at present what the ultimate exposure of the taxpayer will be for a property currently valued at €60 million.
In the 1970s, the Irish Glass Bottle Company and its former subsidiary Waterford Glass, had a combined payroll of almost 5,000 - - similar to US chip giant Intel, currently Ireland's largest industrial employer.
By 2002, the glass plant was owned by Ardagh Glass, which was headed by former tax accountant Paul Coulson, and was shut after a 17-week strike, with the loss of 375 jobs.
Irish Glass Bottle Company dated from 1925 and recommenced manufacturing in 1932, under the ownership of Joseph McGrath and Joseph Griffin and the 24-acre site adjacent to Strand Road, in Ringsend, South Dublin, comprises land reclaimed from the sea and part of it had been used as a waste tip-head by Dublin Corporation.
The site was leased to Irish Glass Bottle by the Dublin Port Company.
In 2005, the site was owned by South Wharf Plc, under the control of Paul Coulson, and it lost a High Court application to force the Dublin Port Company to agree to a change of use from manufacturing and warehousing.
In May 2005, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Míchéal Martin, proposed an emergency amendment of the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Act to the Dáil, that closed off a loophole in respect of IDA Ireland, Shannon Development and Udarás na Gaeltachta properties that were leased to client companies.
The loophole had been left in place in so far as it might apply to other State agencies that were leasing out land under certain terms. Other Departments were advised to examine the situation.