Sunday 28 May 2017

Wallace claims are ill-informed and without foundation, says Hibernia Reit

A spokesman for Hibernia Reit said: “It is regrettable that Deputy Wallace has again used his speaking time in the Dail to make negative comments about Reits in general and Hibernia Reit specifically. Photo: Collins Courts
A spokesman for Hibernia Reit said: “It is regrettable that Deputy Wallace has again used his speaking time in the Dail to make negative comments about Reits in general and Hibernia Reit specifically. Photo: Collins Courts
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Hibernia Reit has accused Independent TD Mick Wallace of "using his speaking time in the Dail to make negative comments about Reits (real estate investment trusts) and Hibernia Reit specifically", describing them as "ill-informed and without foundation".

Speaking in the course of the Dail's debate on the Finance Bill on October 27, Wallace referred to representations made by WK Nowlan, the company founded by Hibernia CEO Kevin Nowlan's father, Bill, to the Department of Finance in relation to the introduction of Reits in Ireland.

He said: "We now know that two years of lobbying took place between WK Nowlan and the Department of Finance on the establishment of Reits, and the Department of Finance eventually ceded to this lobbying in 2013 by establishing the Reits model."

Wallace also highlighted an interview Kevin Nowlan gave to economist David McWilliams for the RTE documentary, Ireland's Great Wealth Divide in September 2015. "He [Kevin Nowlan] said Ireland became an extraordinary place for a moment because virtually everything was for sale. He also said a lot of property for sale, by receiver or whatever, ends up in the Irish Times and Irish Independent, but they know enough people in Dublin to be able to go buy properties in Dublin without having to go to auction or onto the market. He stated they had done 18 deals, 16 of which were done off-market. These are the type of guys who now control much of the property market in Dublin, and it raises concerns about how we do big business in Ireland," said Wallace.

A spokesman for Hibernia Reit said: "It is regrettable that Deputy Wallace has again used his speaking time in the Dail to make negative comments about Reits in general and Hibernia Reit specifically. Any negative inferences in relation to Hibernia and its staff are ill-informed and without foundation.

"The introduction of Reits in Ireland has provided the sort of long term investor base with low borrowings that was so sorely lacking from the property market during the last cycle. Reits are also responsible for a large amount of construction activity in the country and the associated economic activity and jobs that this creates."

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