Friday 9 December 2016

Billions at stake but Nama gets pestered by parish-pump politics

Wasting time and money, TDs have flooded Nama with questions, some of which are ridiculous, writes Ronald Quinlan

Published 06/09/2015 | 02:30

ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Despite being in charge of one of the biggest property loan portfolios in the world, Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh has had to respond to trivial queries from TDs
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Despite being in charge of one of the biggest property loan portfolios in the world, Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh has had to respond to trivial queries from TDs

When Nama was established, almost overnight it was casually being referred to as the 'world's biggest property company'. Whether the description was accurate or not, it was understandable given the scale of its portfolio and the task it was being set by the then government.

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Having taken over €74bn in developers' loans from the balance sheets of Ireland's broken banks, Nama was told to recover as much of that money as it could on behalf of the taxpayers who had been forced to bail them out.

Clearly conscious of the difference the success or failure of the agency would make to the country's economic prospects, our politicians passed legislation affording it extraordinary powers to pursue the developers on its books, and to do so beneath a veil of secrecy so great that Taoiseach Enda Kenny dubbed it the "secret society" in the course of the 2011 general election campaign.

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