Saturday 10 December 2016

Shane Ross: The Eagle has landed and Nama's bosses have failed us

Shane Ross

Published 04/10/2015 | 02:30

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Nama‘s chairman Frank Daly and its chief executive Brendan McDonagh have much to answer over the Project Eagle property deal
NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Nama‘s chairman Frank Daly and its chief executive Brendan McDonagh have much to answer over the Project Eagle property deal

Frank Daly , chairman of Nama, blinks a lot. Last Thursday his eyes kept popping around their sockets behind his thick spectacles at the Public Accounts Committee (Pac). He constantly looked surprised, a bit uncomfortable under questioning. He understandably bristled at the mention of wrongdoing or any hint of impropriety or stupidity.

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Frank Daly is what used to be called a "gentleman". Impeccably polite, he showed little sign of ego. He was the perfect, self- effacing public servant. His working career was spent in the Revenue Commissioners, where he rose to the top. He is the embodiment of the taxman: instinctively secretive, upright, conformist and incorruptible. He's paid a hundred and fifty grand a year.

Beside him at the PAC sat Brendan McDonagh, chief executive of Nama. McDonagh does not blink as much as his chairman. He looks puzzled, almost injured, under questioning. He is a slightly younger version of Daly, a bit less open and utterly colourless. He is equally polite. Like Daly, his ego seems non- existent and his commercial testosterone levels low. His entire working life has been devoted to acronyms like the ESB, the NTMA and Nama. He is the perfect public servant, instinctively secretive, upright, conformist and incorruptible.

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