Nama’s fears over the impact of being subject to the Freedom of Information Act appear to be unfounded.
This follows the release of one of the first tranche of documents under the Freedom of Information Act that contains page upon page of redacted or blacked out material.
Three years ago, the chairman of Nama, Frank Daly told the Oireachtas finance committee that extending FoI legislation to cover the State’s bad bank would cause difficulties for the bank in its commercial objective of maximising its profits for the State.
“We are akin to a bank, an asset management company, and we’re out there competing with those other entities,” he said.
Mr Daly said the country could not afford to have his body subject to total transparency which competing bodies were not bound by. “We can’t afford to be hamstrung vis-a-vis our competitors.”
Nama has been receiving FoI requests since the middle of last month for the first time. However, the release of minutes of Nama board meetings between September of last year to March will give comfort to Mr Daly and other senior officials at the agency.
The agency’s FoI unit has released 201 pages of board minutes.
However, a large percentage of the pages released have at least some portion redacted with quite a number having entire pages blacked out.
The FoI has redacted the information under a range of headings.
One includes a provision that a FoI official can refuse to release records if the financial information could prejudice the competitive position of that person.
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