Saturday 25 October 2014

Ryan Review

Published 18/10/2013 | 05:00

There may be nine weeks to go before Christmas but NAMA has been living in Santa's magical kingdom for longer than that. For the largest property agency in the world, talk of billions is everyday conversation, so Brendan McDonagh's announcement at a recent Oireachtas committee grilling, er, meeting, that NAMA expected to 'break even' by 2020 may not have carried the sense of alarm that should have had bells ringing all over the place.

We have no reason to believe this statement any more than others emanating from the secretive organisation, which we fund, but whose workings we are forbidden from knowing anything about.

When NAMA started its unenviable task of shedding the overhang of building stock from bad bank books, it had a beady eye on the UK market in particular. Lavish properties there are more attractive than fields, sorry "sites", in Mullingar and Offaly, which turned out to be the most expensive sheep-grazing facilities on the planet.

It even boasted of a €5bn profit would be made during its tenure. We were impressed. A government agency MAKING money? Alas, it wasn't long before the accounting fairies reduced it to €1bn. But still, a profit's a profit, right?

Well now 'breaking even' is the new code. NAMA's website carries the following consumer message: "If you believe that information contained in this document is inaccurate or misleading, please contact NAMA at properties@nama.ie and NAMA will correct or clarify the information as necessary."

It's getting quite good at that lately.

On Twitter: @sinead_ryan

Irish Independent

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