Friday 23 March 2018

Vast majority demand an end to Nama

don lavery

THE majority of Irish people, many of them struggling to pay mortgages, want to put a stop to Nama, which the Government has consistently denied is a bailout for the developers.

However, the claim has cut no ice with Sunday Independent readers, who overwhelmingly voted to put an end to the National Asset Management Agency, which is acquiring €81bn loans from participating banks.

Nama, which has itself said it is not a toxic or bad bank but an asset management agency, should be stopped in its tracks, according to 86.3 per cent of respondents, or 7,747 people, who texted the Sunday Independent. Just 13.7 per cent, or 1,230 people, want Nama to continue, scooping up loans at a discount from banks which were given to developers. The poll is a clear indication of the gut-wrenching anger felt by ordinary people at the state of the country and its economy.

It also confirms the public perception that the Government has bent over backwards to bail out banks and developers, but has done little or nothing to help its citizens. Many are unemployed, and those who are in jobs are being forced to pay up every cent on debts while the banks ruthlessly hike up interest rates on loans and mortgages.

For the Government, it is another in a long line of failures to communicate its message, particularly about Nama.

The poll comes on top of an earlier Sunday Independent poll, where public anger manifested itself again -- with 95 per cent of people wanting the €22bn bailout of Anglo Irish Bank to stop now. Over 25,000 people took part in that poll.

Perhaps the chairman of Nama, Frank Daly, gauged the public mood accurately in a speech in June. He acknowledged then that there is "enormous anger that a relatively small group of people, through an abject failure to discharge their responsibilities, could have imposed such a burden on this and future generations". Finance Minister Brian Lenihan maintains Nama is the most effective solution to the issues confronting the banking sector and the economy.

Problem is, it appears he has yet to convince the public.

Sunday Independent

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