15/09/2009

Labour Organises Anti NAMA Protest

The Irish Labour Party has today revealed it will hold a protest against the Government's proposed debt tackling agency.

On the party's official website today, details of the protest were posted, asking visitors to "show your opposition to NAMA" during a demonstration at 1pm next Wednesday, September 16 at Leinster House.

The opposition party have just completed their annual think-in meeting ahead of the reconvene of the Daíl next week, where the NAMA bill will be debated in full.

On Wednesday the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, will provide to the Daíl an estimate of the loans that would be transferred to the proposed NAMA institution if his Bill is passed.

Labour Spokesperson on Finance, Joan Burton said she was concerned about how Mr Lenihan would be presenting his findings, and asked for an embargoed preview of the figures.

Ms Burton said: "All through the past week I have heard repeated assertions from Ministers that NAMA will be a profitable undertaking and will cover its own costs since the rate of interest on the NAMA bonds will be so low.

"This is a speculative assertion that takes no account whatsoever of the operation of the bond markets, variations in interest rates and discounts over the projected life of NAMA."

The other main opposition party Fine Gael have also said they will not support the NAMA bill, and have revealed their alternative to solving the toxic debt issue.

In a document released this week detailing their new "Good Bank" plan, Fine Gael said: "We cannot support the Government’s 'NAMA' approach to resolving the banking crisis because of its potentially colossal cost for the country, because of its uncertain benefits for business and because of the evident unfairness of asking taxpayers to take responsibility for the reckless behaviour of developers and banks.

"The advantage of Fine Gael's 'Good Bank' solution, which significantly the French have adopted after their disastrous experience with their own NAMA in the 1990s, is that the risks and responsibilities associated with working out distressed developer-related loans would remain with those professional bankers and investors that funded the loans and that are best placed to recover them."

In the North, the Stormont Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has quashed fears that the Republic's so-called "bad bank" could lead to a property price slump in Northern Ireland.

Reports had suggested that as much as €20bn of assets set to be managed by Nama were in Northern Ireland.

However, Mr Wilson said the Republic's Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan, had told him this figure was substantially lower at €4.8bn.

See: Toxic Assets Debated

(DW/BMcC)

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