Sheridan Millenium dropped as preferred developer for Laganside

NIO Minister David Hanson has reaffirmed the “Government’s commitment to developing the Queen’s Quay site on Belfast’s riverfront following DSD and Laganside’s decision to terminate the current competition.” But you have to look through the Notes to Editors to find the reason why.

Following due diligence the Department and Laganside have concluded that they cannot properly form an opinion on Sheridan Millennium’s ability to deliver the project and so cannot proceed to enter into a development agreement with Sheridan Millennium. As a result the current competition initiated in January 2005 through which Sheridan Millennium was identified as preferred developer has been terminated by Laganside.

The Sheridan Group website describes Sheridan Millenium Ltd as a property development company wholly owned by Peter J Curistan. It was also responsible for developing the Odyssey Pavilion in Belfast.

On Sunday it was reported that one of Curistan’s other companies, Century City, had had its financial accounts qualified by its auditors

Turnover at Century City, which operates an amusement arcade in the Parnell Centre in Dublin, comprised cash sales of €160,643 in the year to December 2005. However, when the accounts were signed off last month, company auditors noted “there was insufficient audit evidence to enable us to verify the completeness of same”.

Sinn Fein finance chief Des Mackin resigned as a director of the company last January.

Century City has suffered a series of reverses this year. Also in January, the Probabtion Act was applied in the Dublin District Court against the company, over its failure to keep proper books. Nine months later and following an audit it made a €40,973 settlement with the Revenue Commissioners. The settlement included €25,608 in underdeclared PAYE, PRSI and VAT, and €15,365 in interest and penalties. Century City is controlled by Curistan through Sheridan Developments, an offshore outfit in the British Virgin Isles.

The resignation of Des Mackin as a director of Century City was noted here on Slugger at the time when it was reported that 6 of the 7 companies involved were to be wound-up.

According to the DSD statement

Notes to Editors:

1. In 2005 Laganside Corporation ran a competition to select a preferred developer for the proposed Queen’s Quay Development along the East Bank of the Lagan from Bridge End to just beyond the Odyssey. In June 2005 the Laganside Board appointed Sheridan Millennium as the preferred developer for the three development sites at Queen’s Quay subject to completing due diligence which involves an independent assessment of the developer’s ability to deliver the project. The process of due diligence is required for large developments such as Queen’s Quay.

2. Following due diligence the Department and Laganside have concluded that they cannot properly form an opinion on Sheridan Millennium’s ability to deliver the project and so cannot proceed to enter into a development agreement with Sheridan Millennium. As a result the current competition initiated in January 2005 through which Sheridan Millennium was identified as preferred developer has been terminated by Laganside.

3. In view of the Department taking responsibility for the Laganside area following the planned dissolution of the Laganside Corporation in March 2007, subject to the approval of Parliament, the Department will review Laganside’s development plans for Queen’s Quay with a view to a new competition as soon as practicable.

4. All developers which submitted proposals to the 2005 competition are eligible to submit proposals to any future competition for Queen’s Quay. Confirmation of the selected preferred developer will again be subject to the due diligence procedure.

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  • iluvni

    Perhaps Hanson will now take this opportunity to review the whole Queens Quay development plan, demonstrate a bit of common sense and ensure our National sports stadium is built there, (where it will be a success), instead of this ludicrous venture in the arsehole of nowhere at the Maze.

  • joeCanuck

    I agree that the National sports stadium should be built in central Belfast, iluvni.
    When Toronto went through a similar debate about a world class sports facility about 20 years ago, there were a lot of people who wanted it built on the outskirts of the city. The final decision was to build it right near the city centre.
    What a success that has been – a thriving nightlife full of bars, restaurants and hotels.

  • Hansard

    From Hansard

    Mr. Robinson: I am happy to comply, Mr. Deputy Speaker—I am all the more happy, because I have only one more sentence to deliver in relation to the case: rather than punish republicans for that continuing crime, the Government want to reward them.

    It has now been revealed that, over several years, senior IRA figures have accumulated massive wealth. Its finance director, Des Mackin, now owns property worth more than £1.75 million. He has a conviction for IRA membership in the mid-1980s and served as Sinn Fein’s treasurer. He, along with the Belfast tycoon, Peter Curistan, are the two co-directors of numerous companies, seven of which were prosecuted in the district court in Dublin recently for failing to keep proper accounts.

    Instead of rewarding republicans for criminality, the Government should address the involvement of such men in government initiatives. Curistan is the key private sector investor behind Belfast’s flagship £100 million Odyssey centre in my East Belfast constituency. Many of us have been aware of Mr. Curistan and his business activities and, until

    8 Feb 2006 : Column 958

    recently, I believe that most people believed that they were legitimate. Given recent reports, I believe that they will consider that that is not the case. His Sheridan Group was awarded a massive development contract in June 2005 by the Laganside Corporation, which is a public body, for residential provision, offices, a hotel, niche retail outlets, waterfront cafés and other leisure facilities, together with parking. When he winds up, will the Secretary of State ensure that the activities of the Sheridan Group and its association with the IRA’s dirty money are fully investigated? Will he guarantee that no further public money is channelled in its direction until, if ever, it gets a clean bill of health?

  • mnob

    Sinn Fein finance chief Des Mackin resigned as a director of the company last January.

    Welcome the Shinners to the ruling classes 🙂