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NAMA Bill may be open to legal challenges – Morgan

31 August, 2009


Speaking in advance of a meeting of the Dáil Finance Committee today, Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan said he believed the draft legislation was so flawed it could be open to legal challenges. Morgan said his party was fundamentally opposed to NAMA as a solution to the banking crisis and believed the contents of the Bill supported Sinn Féin’s and the public position.

Arthur Morgan said:

“Sinn Fein has a fundamental problem with this Bill and that is that NAMA will not solve the banking crisis. There is nothing to say that banks will loan again after NAMA cleans their balance sheets or that more loans won’t become impaired in future. If the Minister accepts that there will more than likely be a large state subvention even after NAMA, why not nationalise now?

“The many flaws in this draft legislation reinforce Sinn Féin’s view. For example – Section 60.4 calls for a participating institution to disclose in ‘utmost good faith’ all matters and circumstances relating to a loan. How are Irish citizens expected to have any faith in the Irish banking system and why would that term be included in legislation? These banks should be required to disclose information under penalty of imprisonment if they fail to provide the requisite information.

“Section 102 allows the Minister to send a NAMA valuation of a bad loan back to the independent valuation committee and advise compensation if he believes it is undervalued. What is the purpose of an independent valuation panel if the minister, in this case a Fianna Fáiler, the builders’ friend, has provisions for overturning a valuation?

“Chapter 4, under the title ‘Compulsory acquisition of land’ gives NAMA the power to enable developers to finish projects. Who sets the terms of this land acquisition? Will the land owners be compensated, and who sets the price?

“These are just some of my party’s concerns about this Bill and I believe that these three sections alone could be open to legal challenge. However, the fact remains, even if the Minister amends this Bill, NAMA will not solve Irish banking problems. That will only be done by nationalisation and that is a route that Brian Lenihan seems determined to avoid.” ENDS

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