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Friday 22 August 2014

Agency defends appointing board member with FG links

Colm Kelpie

Published 30/05/2014 | 02:30

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THE chairman of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has defended the decision to appoint an individual with links to Fine Gael to the agency's board.

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Mari Hurley, inset, was appointed to the board of the toxic loans agency NAMA last month for a five-year term.

She has been a long-term party activist.

Although she was not named personally during the hearing, NAMA chairman Frank Daly told TDs at the Public Accounts Committee that she was upfront about her link to Fine Gael when he met her and said it was his understanding that she was not active within the party.

"I was more interested in the individual's background, capacity, skill set and her interest in the board and I was very satisfied with all of that," he said.

Independent TD Shane Ross queried why Ms Hurley's connection to Fine Gael was not made clear in her CV in NAMA's annual report.

"I just look at the individual in terms of their suitability, on the basis of their experience and skill set and their commitment, or likely commitment to the board," Mr Daly said.

According to NAMA's annual report, Ms Hurley was appointed by Finance Minister Michael Noonan on April 8. She is the chief financial officer of Web Reservations International and was previously finance director of the Sherry FitzGerald group. She is also a director of Bord Gais.

Meanwhile, Mr Daly said there was definitely a housing supply issue in Dublin and that NAMA had a commitment to deliver 4,500 houses over the next couple of years. Mr Daly also said there was a commitment to investment in the docklands area, which includes an extra 2,800 residential units.

NAMA chairman Mr Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh were before the committee to discuss a progress report on the agency from the Comptroller & Auditor General.

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