Irish Republican News · September 10, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: No respect for Nama ‘lipstick’
No respect for Nama ‘lipstick’
namaodds.jpg

Amendments have been made to the proposed legislation establishing the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) to help the Green Party leadership get support for the plan at their special conference of members this weekend.

The Dublin parliament is set to begin debating the Bill next Wednesday which will permit 90 billion Euro of property assets to be purchased from multi-millionaire developers at a notional “long term market value”, well in excess of current or predicted market prices.

The Green Party claimed credit for changes to the Bill, including a putative risk-sharing mechanism between Nama and the banks and an 80 per cent windfall tax on profits from land rezoning, the most common form of political corruption in Ireland.

Its continued participation in a Fianna Fail-led coalition government is under pressure following a collapse in public support, which has seen its approval rating fall to 11%.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said the Nama Bill amounted “to no more than a great, big genetically-modified fig leaf that covers the embarrassment of the Green Party having to row in behind what is a Fianna Fail plan to bail out bankers and developers”.

Mr Gilmore said the windfall tax on rezoned development had merit “but the problem we are dealing with here now is that these guys have gone with the windfall, and the reason we have a problem with the banks is that the property prices have collapsed, so really what this is designed to do is to allow political space.”

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Arthur Morgan said the Greens were involved in a “pathetic window-dressing exercise to save face”.

Mr Morgan said Nama was “fundamentally flawed because it will not clean out the banking management and it will not make banks lend again. It is a shameful attempt to legalise the corruption of the government, developers and the banks over the last decade.”

He said the government should “take charge of the situation” by nationalising the two major banks, Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks, “and by delivering for the people of this country, not robbing the taxpayers to bail out the bankers and corrupt greedy speculators.”

Meanwhile, Fine Gael called for the coalition government to publish the names of the people that will be the beneficiaries of the agency.

The party’s deputy leader Richard Bruton said the taxpayer should be able to see who they are bailing out. He also claimed secrecy in the use of taxpayers’ money is at the very heart of Nama.

“At its core, Nama is a secretive, tax-funded, politically directed work-out process for 1,500 of the most powerful, well connected, business people in Ireland,” said Mr Bruton.

“Not only will Irish taxpayers get scalped by bank speculators if Nama is allowed to deliberately over-pay them for their toxic developer loans, we’ll then be in danger of getting scalped a second time by the developers themselves,” he said.

“Secrecy in the use of taxpayers’ money is at the very heart of Nama.”

PUT IT TO PEOPLE

The coalition should seek a mandate for the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) and other proposals by calling a general election, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said.

Mr Adams told reporters at the Dublin parliament yesterday his message to the government was: “Go to the people and seek the people’s mandate to do what you want to do. If the people vote for you, fair enough.”

A recent opinion poll indicated that just 26% of the 26 County electorate back the Nama plan.

The government thought the people were “asleep”, said the Sinn Fein leader, adding that the Nama proposals were about “rewarding their friends”.

“The proposals that they are bringing forward arising from An Bord Snip and from the Commission on Taxation, and the proposition that we’re going to face up to of voting again on exactly the same Treaty of Lisbon: it’s my strong view that if the Government really believes in these proposals, then it should go and seek the support of the electorate for them.”

Mr Adams said: “The proposals are so devastating, in terms of the social guarantees, the social structure of the State; they are going to affect people, not just of our generation, but for the next generation. They are so deep-rooted and so cutting into the very fabric of what should be people’s rights, and any government that wants to bring about those type of changes should go and seek a mandate for it.”

Setting out Sinn Fein’s approach to the next general election, he said: “What we want is a fundamental change in the core values of our political system, which has not served the people well, and is not serving the people well at this time.”

© 2009 Irish Republican News