#NAMA has failed to deliver for the Irish People…
Dáil Diary no 49 - 16 July 2015
The manner in which NAMA has operated is a major concern for many Irish citizens. That the promised social dividend of this secret society, never materialised, was a great disappointment in itself. But the disappointment didn’t stop there. NAMA’s insistence on selling assets and loan portfolios for well below their real value is naturally a very serious issue for the tax payer, who is picking up the tab. The fact that they’ve been determined to sell properties in huge bulk, rather than breaking them up, has had further negative consequences. Firstly, only financial entities with the clout of US Vulture funds, have had the capacity to purchase these massive portfolios, secondly, the net financial return for the taxpayer was dramatically reduced, and thirdly, in many cases, it has allowed the same US vulture funds distort our property/ rental market, as these colossal organisations are developing a cartel, giving them a controlling influence over rental prices, which is to the detriment of any Irish people who may be trying to rent accommodation. All told, NAMA has delivered well for the massive foreign investment funds, but has failed to deliver for the Irish people. The cost of same, will remain with us for a long time. Here’s my Dáil contribution with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Wednesday –
“Taoiseach, you said yesterday the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee of Public Accounts are the agencies in this jurisdiction for dealing with issues concerning the National Asset Management Agency, NAMA. We both know neither of them have the potential to fully hold NAMA to account. The legislation regarding the Comptroller and Auditor General does not allow for ongoing, intrusive oversight and monitoring and lacks asset management oversight functions.
There are many concerns around the workings of NAMA.
Cerberus expects to make a large fortune from the purchase of Project Eagle. The £7 million that ended up in an Isle of Man bank account will begin to look like small change. The big loser, though, is the Irish taxpayer in the South. NAMA says the sale of Project Eagle was lawful, but was the purchase lawful? I would have thought that a Fine Gael Government would have a bit more concern about slush moneys for fixers. I doubt the Taoiseach has heard the last of Project Eagle.
Does the Taoiseach know how many barristers, judges, solicitors, top-four accountancy firm partners and bankers are in syndicates which have been set up by Goodbody Stockbrokers, Anglo Private, Bank of Ireland Private, AIB Private, Davy, Warren and Quinlan which have transferred to NAMA but which NAMA has not enforced, despite personal guarantees being attached? NAMA is responsible for some people being tossed out of their homes, but it looks like some of the great and good of Irish society are blessed with NAMA’s goodwill.
What role did a former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, John Moran, play in NAMA’s handling of the Coroin group’s portfolio? This gentleman remarked at one stage that the number of home repossessions in Ireland was unnaturally low. It would appear he was unnaturally interested in playing a significant role in the outcome of the Coroin group’s portfolio.
All is not well. I know of a construction company, Taoiseach, which wanted to exit out of NAMA, so it asked the manager of its portfolio if it could happen and he said, "Yes, but it will cost you €15,000 in cash and I want it in a bag".
A few weeks later, they delivered the money. A few weeks later he demanded the same again. They duly obliged and all was sorted - a small window into the workings of NAMA. Is the Taoiseach still happy with the workings of this secret society?
The Taoiseach: The Deputy has made a number of comments and allegations here regarding people working in different sectors, including members of the Judiciary. He made comments in respect of a former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, as well as comments generally in respect of NAMA.
Let me repeat again for him. The process of accountability and transparency in this jurisdiction in respect of NAMA is the Committee of Public Accounts in the Oireachtas, chaired by a Member of this House. Personnel from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office work with NAMA and have access to all the papers and documents relevant to any of these transactions.
I would suggest that, as a public representative, the Deputy has a facility where questions can follow his allegations. He should go to Deputy McGuinness’s committee, the Committee of Public Accounts, a committee of long-standing integrity in this House. The Deputy can make his claims, ask his questions. The Chairman of the committee, with his members, is entitled to call in personnel in respect of the issues the Deputy raised.
The Deputy has made some serious claims here. I do not have the detailed responses to them. The Committee of Public Accounts is the authorised independent entity in the Oireachtas for accountability and transparency in respect of NAMA. I suggest to Deputy Wallace that in the interest of public accountability and transparency, he goes to the committee, presents his findings and facts - if facts they are - and allow the Chairman and his committee to do their work in the interests of their political responsibility here.
Mick Wallace: I can only come to the conclusion that the Taoiseach does not seem awfully interested in getting to the truth. There is a stark contrast between how Northern Ireland is dealing with this and how the Government is dealing with it.
Can the Taoiseach tell me why did Mr. Frank Daly tell the Committee of Public Accounts that he did not know about the alleged £7 million in the Isle of Man bank account until I mentioned it? I know for a fact that NAMA knew this last January. What did it do about it? Did it tell the Minister for Finance or did it bury it with the rest of it? Mr. Coulter has denied the involvement of a politician. Well, he would, would he not? I decided to contact my sources this morning and ask them to what degree of certainty they could stand over the involvement of a particular politician. Their reply was, "Is 100% enough?". The Taoiseach has serious problems. Does he want answers to them? Do not bother asking me, Taoiseach, to go to the Garda
I will ask the Taoiseach again whether he is prepared to set up an independent commission of investigation. If he wants the truth, that is what he will have to do. The people would like him to do that. He owes it to them.
NAMA came to the Oireachtas last week and felt it was out of the woods leaving here, but do you know what, Taoiseach? The trees are only starting to grow.
The Taoiseach: The Deputy has stood up again now and he has made further allegations. I do not speak for anybody in Northern Ireland in regard to this. There is a criminal investigation going on there. As I understand it from yesterday's discussion here, there are no allegations against NAMA or personnel down here. I read out what the chronology of the actions of the Minister for Finance was following the process down here. Now, let me repeat what I said to Deputy McDonald yesterday. Deputy Wallace now tells me that he has facts. He now tells me that he has been checking with his sources. He has a duty and a responsibility to bring that to the attention of the accountable body in this Oireachtas, and that is the Committee of Public Accounts.
Mick Wallace: The Taoiseach has a duty to set up an inquiry.
The Taoiseach: Deputy Wallace is making allegations and assumptions in the middle of which he said he had facts. Well, I say to Deputy Wallace he has a duty to bring those allegations or those assertions or those facts to the accountable body in this Oireachtas, that is, the Committee of Public Accounts. The Chairman, who is present, with his members has full authority to follow through on those allegations, assertions or assumptions that Deputy Wallace makes.
As I understand it, there is no basis for any criminal charge that I have heard, either against NAMA or anybody associated with it or the Minister for Finance or anybody in the Department of Finance.
If Deputy Wallace has evidence to the contrary, he should bring it to the attention of the Garda if it is criminal or bring it to the attention of
If Deputy Wallace has facts and he has sources that he can check are authentic, he should bring them to the notice of the Chairman.
Mick Wallace: If the Taoiseach wants the truth, he will set up a commission of investigation.