No objection to builders who went bust: Michael Noonan

There can be no objection to developers who went bust during the country’s economic collapse from playing a full part in construction and development, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said.

He made the comments at a media briefing on Nama’s annual report, which showed that the agency last year financed a large part of all the new homes built in Dublin.

By the end of next year, Nama said it will have facilitated the completion of 4,500 new homes in the region. It funded 40% of all new housing in Dublin last year.

Asked whether the Government should have concerns about the involvement of developers from the boom years in new building projects, Mr Noonan said part of Nama’s role was to tap their expertise and to get developers active again in the economy.

“My view is that the sector was totally broke and Nama fulfilled an enormous function,” he said. “This is how you resolve a sector that is totally under water.”

Mr Noonan said he hoped that more debtors would be able to exit Nama in the coming years.

Nama now has more than 630 debtors on its books, compared with 780 when it started off five years ago, according to chairman Frank Daly.

Nama said its corporate governance rules preventing departing staff from potentially availing of insider information to the benefit of property companies were working well.

Staff are subject to “quite onerous” conditions when they leave the agency, said Brendan McDonagh, Nama’s chief executive.

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