Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is NAMA the only show in town?

A local newspaper editorial announced this week that NAMA is the only show in town. I appreciate the point that was being made – that this is the Government’s device and it is the only one they are willing to pursue. But the real question is whether or not NAMA is the best device to sort out the banks. A number of alternative propositions have been put forward by the opposition and all have been rejected. Why? Are these propositions worthy of debate? If the Government genuinely feels they are unworkable then at least debate them in the Dáil. Instead the Government have railroaded through their plans with little or no debate about the alternatives.

The Government believes NAMA is the only show in town because it is the only one which protects the failed bankers and the greedy developers. We in Sinn Féin have called for the two main banks to be nationalised, cleaned up and put to work in the interests of the Irish people. NAMA on the other hand has nationalised the debt but privatises the profit. The state has taken over the banks toxic loans, the bad loans or to be frank the irresponsible loans. The profitable loans, the ones which will be repaid remain the private property of the banks. When the banks dump their bad loans on the taxpayer and make a profit on the good loans as well as customers deposits the profit will remain the banks. In other words the taxpayer gets saddled with the toxic loans and the banks get to carry on as normal and bag the profits. It might be the Government’s only show in town but in my view hardly the best one.

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