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'Bust' developers could get bonuses from NAMA

DEVELOPERS who lost it all in the economic crash could be in line for bonuses from NAMA.

More than 120 debtors working with the National Asset Management Agency were paid €10m in salaries this year, with three earning €200,000.

Now they could be in line to pocket even more.

Brendan McDonagh said NAMA was considering allowing bonuses to be paid to debtors, but insisted that few would ultimately benefit.

"That is something that is under consideration by NAMA," Mr McDonagh told an Oireachtas committee yesterday.

"We have to take the circumstances into account … as the market changes to try and achieve the objectives that have been set for us.

"I think there would be very few people in the NAMA portfolio who would be potentially eligible for that."

Mr McDonagh told the Public Accounts Committee that of the 122 debtors receiving a wage, three are earning €200,000; 13 are getting between €150,000 and €199,000; 32 are receiving between €100,000 and €149,000; 47 receive between €50,000 and €99,000; and 27 get up to €49,000.

The NAMA chief made the revelation after defending allegations that it was being too soft on developers.

"We have been before this committee and others in the past and have had to defend ourselves against the view that perhaps we have been too soft on debtors by allowing them to retain part of the income," Mr McDonagh said.

DEBTORS

"More recently, there seems to be a suggestion that we have been too demanding of some debtors. We disagree with both of these assertions."

The level of debtor payments was criticised by John McGuinness, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who said there were concerns about the level of income being given to the debtors.

"I have grave reservations about the arrangements they have between the debtors in NAMA and the amount of money they pay," he said.

The widow of farmer Philip De Vere Hunt, who took his own life in 2012 after one of the bad bank's companies, NALM, took a case against him, was in the public gallery for the hearing.

Around the second anniversary of his death, NAMA has launched High Court proceedings against his widow Annette and son Robert which could see them lose the family farm where Philip's ashes are scattered.

Mr McGuinness criticised the way NAMA handles complaints from the public.

"NAMA were challenged in relation to what they did to her," Mr McGuinness said.

"I can understand why they are being paid, but the level of payment is out of kilter with the circumstances that NAMA is dealing with.

"There's a lot of concern about what they're doing."

Fianna Fail's Finance spokesman Michael McGrath, who doesn't sit on the committee, said NAMA has to be able to stand over the remuneration package it has sanctioned for some of the large debtors.

"There really needs to be a very strong business case justifying NAMA continuing working with debtors," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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