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Don't chase good bankers away

WHILE it is common enough, especially in a place like Ireland, for politicians to enact legislation that has the exact opposite effect to the one intended, I confess that it is still fascinating to see it actually happening.

With NAMA, the Government claims that the intention is to rebuild a functioning banking system.

This need arises because our main banks (BoI, AIB and Anglo) have spent the past decade and a bit under the control of incompetents.

The NAMA intention is to ensure that these companies -- mostly under the same management as before -- continue in operation. The consequence of the approach being proposed is to substantively drive all the competently run foreign banks out of the country.

Rabobank's chief financial officer Bert Bruggink recently stated, in possibly the scariest Irish news report I've seen this year, that foreign banks in Ireland had "to take care of themselves" as government support measures (ie NAMA) were not available to non-Irish banks.

Rabobank is one of the world's best-run banks on almost any criteria.

If they're telling us that they're going to pull out of Ireland, we should be paying attention. So far, we're not.

In a supposed attempt to re-create a working banking system, the Government will chase out of the country the few people who actually know how to run a bank, while simultaneously giving taxpayer money in huge quantities to a bunch of people who have shown their complete inability to run a stable banking system even in a time of rapid economic growth.

Hugh Sheehy
Sandymount, Dublin 4

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