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Put NAMA to a referendum – Sinn Féin

21 August, 2009

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD today confirmed that the party will be voting against NAMA when the Dáil returns in September. He said the issue of NAMA would have such large ramifications for Irish taxpayers now, and future generations, that it should be put to a referendum.

Speaking today Deputy Morgan said, “Sinn Féin is opposing the NAMA proposal. In legislative terms the government proposal is seriously flawed. Its plan to pay the banks long-term economic valuations for bad loans, as opposed to current market value, is a bad deal for the taxpayer. The government’s argument that this will prevent the need for recapitalization later is disingenuous. With recapitalization the taxpayer owns a stake in the banks. Overpaying for bad loans means the taxpayer has overpaid for bad loans.

“Sinn Féin also opposes the flawed premise of NAMA. When the bad loans are taken off the banks books, there is no guarantee that banks will begin lending ‘normally’ into an economy starved of credit, something which NAMA is meant to bring about. Historically, banks are quick to lend in a boom, but slow to lend in a recession. Taking losses for the banks without ensuring an element of control in banking practice thereafter is utterly irresponsible.

“The main reason for our opposition to NAMA is the fact that this is a plan to rescue banks and developers. It does not help ordinary homeowners and businesses facing repossession and economic hardship the length and breadth of the state. They must continue to pay their debts, while developers’ bad loans are nursed indefinitely by the state.

“Sinn Féin believes the only way to deal with the current crisis is to nationalise the banks and create a legacy bad bank to deal with the bad loans that the nationalised banks will have to write down. This is more similar to what Sweden did in the nineties and will offer far more security for the taxpayer.

“The restructured banking sector envisaged by Sinn Féin goes far beyond just restoring ‘normality’ to the system. There was nothing normal about a sector that systematically overcharged customers, was complicit in tax evasion and routinely withdrew access to financial services from working class and rural areas because of profit pursuit. As well as intense regulation of the sector, Sinn Féin wants to see a banking system that contributes to the greater good of the economy and society as a whole. We also want to see all those who participated in and encouraged the practices that brought about the current crisis held to account and criminal convictions pursued.

“The implementation of NAMA would have such large ramifications for Irish taxpayers now, and for future generations, that it should be put to a referendum.” ENDS

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