Tuesday 23 January 2018

Longboat Quay developer Bernard McNamara: ‘Nama poached my staff after crash’

Developer Bernard McNamara
Developer Bernard McNamara
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Senior staff who worked for Bernard McNamara were snapped up by Nama, and rival building firms after his empire collapsed, the Longboat Quay developer has told the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry.

The controversial builder, who went bankrupt in 2012 with debts of €2.7bn, defended the quality of his board and the structures of his former companies.

He said: “Directors were mainly qualified and experienced accountants, engineers and chartered surveyors.

“As I understand it, almost all of them have since been recruited to senior positions by Nama receivers, banks, venture capital funds and top construction companies.”

Longboat Quay: repairs will cost an estimated €4m
Longboat Quay: repairs will cost an estimated €4m

In contrast with answers provided by other developers to the inquiry, Mr McNamara’s responses were remarkably short.

At the outset of his submission, he questioned the inquiry’s powers to ask questions about the “internal workings and business affairs” of his companies.

In response to several questions about the scale of his business and its debts, he replied: “This information is no longer available to me.”

When asked what due diligence financial institutions carried out when giving loans to his businesses between 2001 and 2008, Mr McNamara said the banks “sometimes” commissioned their own valuation reports.

Longboat Quay Apartments near Dublin's Grand Canal Dock
Longboat Quay Apartments near Dublin's Grand Canal Dock

He said the collateral required was “usually 20pc plus”.

On the issue of corporate hospitality from the banks, Mr McNamara said he had rarely accepted any.

He declined to say it his staff had, stating he had no details of senior management records.

Mr McNamara, who was a Fianna Fail councillor before he became a developer, said to the best of his knowledge, contributions were made to political parties.

“These were registered to comply with statutory requirements, but I have no actual records available to me,” he said.

Mr McNamara also declined to offer an opinion on Nama, stating receivers were appointed to all of his business interests “at the very outset” and as a result he had no dealings with the agency.

The submission was made on July 2, but was only published this afternoon.

Mr McNamara has yet to comment on the controversy over Longboat Quay, where up to 900 residents are facing the prospect of being evacuated if €4m is not found for works to bring the development up to fire safety standards.

Online Editors

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