CIF members will pay for consultants to 'keep a watch on NAMA'
THE cash-strapped construction industry has hired London consultants Lombard Street Research to "review" the operations of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
Construction Industry Federation (CIF) boss Tom Parlon this week said the lobby group felt compelled to "keep a watch on NAMA" since the state agency had "employed some of the top advisers in the world".
"NAMA has these massive powers, way beyond the norm," Mr Parlon stressed. "They'd say it's like a golfer having a very big golf bag -- he mightn't necessarily use all the clubs, we'd suggest that the golfer might have a machete in there as well."
The appointment of Lombard will be paid for by CIF members who deal with Nama and agree to pay a special levy, with Mr Parlon expecting to raise about €40,000 to €50,000.
A similar fundraising last year reportedly raised €2m, but Mr Parlon dismissed this as "wild speculation".
The CIF mounted a lobbying campaign around Nama last year, but most of their suggested changes received a cool reception from the Department of Finance.
The most prominent challenge to Nama has come from Jervis Centre owner Paddy McKillen who's awaiting a verdict in his legal battle.
Mr Parlon said the CIF agreed with some of Mr McKillen's arguments but had not been asked to support him in the court case.
The CIF boss added that he "wasn't sure" if he wanted Mr McKillen to win.
"At this stage there's a danger that if he did win it could throw Nama's powers to the four winds and that might cause a lot of further delay," he said.