NAMA bill passes through Dail

The passage of a bill through the lower house of the Dublin parliament establishing the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has been greeted with anger and dismay.

Thursday was described by Sinn Fein as “a black day” after the bill to establish the 54-billion euro “bad bank” was narrowly but unsurprisingly passed by the Dail chamber.

More amendments are expected to be introduced in the Seanad next week, which means it will have to return to the Dail for a final vote. However, debate on the matter has ended.

The government hopes to hold the final vote this coming Thursday, before it can go to the president to become law. Thursday’s decision was carried by 77 votes for and 73 against.

If approved, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) will purchase bad commercial property debts from banks at prices greatly in excess of market rates.

Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Arthur Morgan described today as a black day for Ireland. Deputy Morgan was referring to the end of the NAMA debate in the Dail and the passing of the Bill before its final Seanad stages.

“This is a black day for Ireland,” said Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Arthur Morgan.

“Through NAMA, this government has orchestrated the largest robbery of the Irish taxpayer in our history and we will pay for it for decades.

“What makes this O54 billion bailout for the banks worse is that in a few short weeks, the Minister for Finance is going to walk into the Dail chamber and deliver a budget that lectures us all about fiscal prudence, growing debt levels and the need to cut spending by O4 billion from essential services.

“Fianna Fail and the Green Party are operating two economies, one for their crony friends in the golden circle and one for the rest of us. They are taking our money from the services we want and throwing it at the banks and the elite.

“The real effects of NAMA will not be seen for years, by which time, this government will be gone from office and someone else will have to deal with their legacy. But before they go they are hanging a O54 billion noose around the economy of this state and generations of Irish taxpayers. They should be ashamed of themselves.

“The only way to stop this from happening is to have a general election and ensure a government is elected that will not implement NAMA and that is what Sinn Fein will continue to campaign for.”

Republican Sinn Fein said the passage of the Bill “condemns the population of the 26-Counties to suffer for generations”, Republican Sinn Fein said.

A party spokeperson described NAMA as a “bailout of criminal bankers and speculators”.

“This, of course, is set against the backdrop of plans to seize money from the most vulnerable in society who are reliant on social welfare benefits and to tax the lowest paid. Indeed the Christmas welfare bonus has already been withdrawn.

Meanwhile those who caused the economic crisis are set to be rewarded by those who encouraged the irresponsible and illegal acts of the banking and building classes.”

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