Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson has welcomed today’s review of NAMA by the Department of Finance which indicates that the Agency is ahead of schedule in meeting its debt repayment targets and is now planning to deliver significant office, retail and residential space in Dublin, including the Docklands area as well as housing units where strong demand exists.
Deputy McGrath stated, “Within the sorry saga that has been the Irish banking sector over the last 10 years, it is encouraging that NAMA has the potential to develop into something of a success story. At a minimum, it is on track to recoup all the loans it took on and in fact it is likely to generate a surplus when it is wound up. This outcome is in sharp contrast to the forecasts that were made for the agency by many commentators when it was established including by some very senior people who now sit around the cabinet table.
“Those responsible for running NAMA have done a professional job so far within the parameters of the legislation underpinning the agency. The agency is now in possession of very significant levels of expertise and the State must make the best possible use of these skills. I am very much of the view that that commercial decisions are best made by the agency and not by its political masters.
“The sale of the last 20% of its assets will be just as important in terms of safeguarding the State’s interests as the first 20%. However the nature and location of these assets means that the decision on the timing of their disposal will need to be very carefully considered. Short term political considerations and the desire to say that NAMA has been consigned to history should not enter the equation.
“I welcome the emphasis in today’s report on the opportunities for NAMA to deliver housing and high quality office space where they are most needed. It was always envisaged that NAMA would deliver a social dividend as well as an economic return. It clearly has the funds, land and skills to have a major influence in these areas. We know from both the social housing waiting list and the acute shortage of high quality office space in certain areas that the Irish construction market is still not operating in an optimal manner. Through fully exploiting the resources of NAMA, the State can assist in addressing this market failure. Any early wind up of NAMA would limit the State’s ability to address these two critical issues.
“NAMA was initiated as a long term project. It is delivering on its mandate and should be allowed to continue its work free from having to operate to short term political considerations.”