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Sinn Féin NAMA amendments will seek bailout for low and average income homeowners

21 October, 2009


Speaking on the eve of the commencement of the Committee stage debate on the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) Bill, Sinn Féin’s Finance spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said his party would continue to give voice to the widespread public opposition to what was a fundamentally flawed proposal. Morgan reiterated Sinn Féin’s demand that the banks of systemic importance be nationalised while outlining his party’s proposals to ensure that, if passed, NAMA would contain a bailout for those on low and average incomes experiencing negative equity.

Morgan said:

“Workers on low wages, the unemployed, those dependent on social welfare are being thrown overboard to make room in the lifeboat for an elite of bankers and developers whose greed has brought this state to the brink of bankruptcy. Sinn Féin will not stand for this. The public won’t stand for this. The only correct response to the current banking crisis is the nationalisation of those banks of systemic importance.

“The amendments which I am bringing forward seek to ensure that the interests of ordinary people are addressed in as much as is possible given the fundamentally flawed nature of the NAMA proposal.

“Sinn Féin is proposing the benefits of NAMA be extended to homeowners on low and average incomes, particularly those who are in negative equity. Unlike the bankers and developers these people do deserve a bailout. Recognising that inflated house prices were a result of collusion between bankers, developers and the government, we are proposing that banks availing of NAMA be obliged to

· Write off the difference between the purchase price of the dwelling and its current market value for those households with mortgages taken out on primary residences since 2004 up €500,000.
· Permit customers whose mortgage is on their primary residence to move from fixed interest to variable interest rates without incurring a financial penalty.
· Make provision to facilitate those who are financially excluded including the provision of basic banks accounts (simple low cost no frills current accounts) as a right and through the provision of banking services in rural towns and disadvantaged urban areas.

“Reducing the mortgage repayment burden for those on low and average incomes by addressing the issue of negative equity for these householders will have a stimulating impact on the economy and will lead to an increase in consumer spending.

Sinn Féin is also proposing:

· Caps on the salaries of those who will work for NAMA.
· Caps on salaries for executives working in the banks availing of NAMA.
· Protection for those who whistle blow on bad and corrupt banking practices in the public interest.
· Priority be given to using land acquired under NAMA to meet public needs including the delivery of schools, community facilities and social housing.” ENDS

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