Friday 27 April 2018

NAMA must stay focused on the job at hand

The news that NAMA has forwarded details of alleged tax evasion by some property developers to the Revenue Commissioners is to be welcomed. Every cent that the state "bad bank" can raise -- either directly through its own actions or indirectly by passing on information to other state agencies such as the Revenue Commissioners -- reduces the cost to the taxpayer, which currently stands at €63bn, of fixing our broken banks.

However, while it is only right and proper that NAMA passes on information of any alleged wrongdoing that it uncovers, it must never lose sight of its main objective. This is to maximise the return to the taxpayer on the €74bn of bad property loans that it purchased for €31.7bn from the Irish-owned banks.

Ever since the late Brian Lenihan first announced plans for NAMA in April 2009, the state 'bad bank' has had to tread a fine line. With the Irish taxpayer picking up the €63bn tab for the excesses of the banks and their property developer borrowers, it has to be keenly aware of how its actions will play in the court of public opinion.

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