Saturday 20 January 2018

Nama in fresh row with PAC over case of widow

Annette de Vere Hunt
Annette de Vere Hunt
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

THE National Assets Management Agency (Nama) has categorically rejected criticism over its handling of a case involving the widow of a farmer who took his own life.

Nama came under fire from the Dáil's spending watchdog earlier this month in relation to its decision to press ahead with legal action against Annette De Vere Hunt.

Ms De Vere Hunt had previously appeared in front of a private session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), during which she gave evidence about how her husband, Philip De Vere Hunt (64), took his life in 2012, after Nama brought a case against him over a €30m loan.

PAC chairman John McGuinness later claimed that the State agency forged ahead with legal action against Ms De Vere Hunt after a mediation process broke down.

At a PAC hearing earlier this month, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the actions of Nama were contradictory because the agency had previously told the committee that it was "committed to mediation".

This has been rejected by Nama.

PAC members wrote to Nama expressing their concern at the treatment of the woman, who claims her husband was also badly treated. But the issue is now at the centre of a row between Nama and the committee.

In a joint letter to PAC, seen by the Irish Independent, Nama chairman Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh rejected any criticism of its handling of the case.

Nama said it had a "difficult job to do and this includes dealing with cases of personal distress and cases where the people concerned do not agree with Nama's decisions or think that Nama may be treating them unfairly".

The letter adds: "Regardless of the profile of the case or the people concerned or any advocacy received, Nama endeavours to deal with all debtors in an even-handed and reasonable fashion in delivering on its statutory mandate."

Irish Independent

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