25/09/2009

NAMA Gets Assembly Debate

A move to 'save' the crumbling economy in the Irish Republic is to have an airing in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin - who believes that the Irish Government's National Assets Management Agency proposals (NAMA) will have detrimental implications for the economy across Ireland - has submitted a motion to the Assembly on the contentious issue.

The economic implications for both part of Ireland will be debated on Monday next, (28th).

Speaking in advance of the debate in the Assembly which he claimed will deal with the implications of NAMA and an effort to find alternatives, will assist in the economic recovery on an island-wide basis.

Mr McLaughlin said: "NAMA is a scheme which the Irish Government has devised in order to buy 'bad loans' from the banks.

"It is the opinion of many, including Sinn Féin, that the plan from the outset is highly flawed and will place an immense economic burden on taxpayers both North and South while banks and developers walk away scot free.

"If the Irish Government is allowed to proceed with NAMA there will be profound repercussions," he said, noting that an estimated €4.8bn of assets are held in Northern Ireland which would fall under the control of NAMA.

"Currently there is no stated timeframe for NAMA to take place," he continued.

"The very real danger is the possibility of NAMA having a rapid time frame and a minimal discount on the loans bought up.

"This could lead to a 'quick sale' of land and properties in the North that will be included in this scheme.

"This, given the €4.8bn total would be a staggering amount of land to be placed on the market which in economic terms could see a plummeting of local prices and the free fall of the economy," Mr Mc Laughlin said.

"What is urgently required is not the private reassurances given to the Finance Minster, Sammy Wilson by his Dublin counterpart Brian Lenihan but an open and full debate in an All-Ireland economic summit to find alternatives to NAMA and an all-Ireland strategy towards mutual economic recovery.

"The two economies cannot operate in perfect isolation," he continued.

"Both economies are inter-dependant and measures must be taken in order to find common practices and close co-operation in future economic planning on an all Ireland basis," he said.

Earlier this month, Fine Gael's financial spokesman also called for NAMA to be cancelled.

Quoting a survey conducted by the Irish Times/MRBI which found just one in four voters supported the Government's approach, he said: "It is crystal clear that the public share Fine Gael's belief that the NAMA proposal is fundamentally flawed," said Richard Bruton TD.

See: State Must 'Ditch' NAMA, Claims Bruton

(BMcc/GK)

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