Friday 20 September 2019

Nama wind-up date delayed by a year, Dáil hears

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The country’s bad bank, Nama, could remain in operation for up to a year longer than previously believed.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has indicated the National Asset Management Agency will not now be wound up at the end of 2020.

The agency was set up after the economic crash to buy up risky property loans from Irish bailed-out lenders.

It is expected to be in a position to return €3.5bn to the State when its work is complete. That was expected to be 2020 but could now be up to a year later.

Mr Donohoe said Nama will “substantially compete its work by the end of 2020-21”.

“Notwithstanding the successful achievement of repaying the State’s contingent liability three years ahead of schedule, there is a significant body of work yet to be completed by Nama,” the minister told the Dáil.

“While it is currently estimated that it will return to a surplus in the region of €3.5bn to the Exchequer, this surplus has yet to fully crystallise.”

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath questioned the “end-of-life strategy”, saying that up until now the projected date for winding up was 2020.

He asked the minister to outline what Nama will do after it has lost the last of its portfolio.

In response, Mr Donohoe said Nama will play a “considerable role” in Dublin docklands and in the delivery of a residential programme at a number of other sites.

“There is work underway on the work Nama might do after the sale. We are discussing the issue with the agency,” he said.

“I am increasingly conscious of the amount of expertise and skills we have built up in the Nama organisation.

“I want to engage in dialogue with the agency to determine how we can retain them for the State, if we can, while still meeting the commitment made to the European Commission [to dismantle the agency] which we will be honouring,” the minister added.

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