Wednesday 7 December 2016

Is it 'game' over for the brazen state agency?

Emboldened from the outset by wartime powers, it's clear that Nama will not go down without a fight, writes Ronald Quinlan

Published 18/09/2016 | 02:30

Frank Daly, Chairman of NAMA. Photo: Tom Burke
Frank Daly, Chairman of NAMA. Photo: Tom Burke

Shortly after the Comptroller & Auditor General's special report into Nama's sale of its Northern Ireland loan book was published last Wednesday afternoon, I received a text message from a prominent figure in the property industry. It read: "Ronald, you have been vindicated as you fought a lone media journey for a long time. This country has burned billions of euro… even the Irish Times are now on board!"

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While I appreciated the sentiment, it wasn't vindication that I felt. It was disgust. I was disgusted by the absolute failure of our politicians - barring the notable exception of Independent TD Mick Wallace - and by the majority of my colleagues in the media to critically assess the manner in which Nama has conducted its business since its establishment in the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.

In saying that, I should admit I could just as easily have been one of the many who afforded Nama the proverbial free run to go about its business unimpeded by any form of dissent. But I was fortunate enough to work for the late Aengus Fanning, who, in one of his many moments of inspiration as editor of the Sunday Independent, instructed me to look into Nama, believing it to be too big, too powerful and far too important to this country's survival to be ignored.

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