Nama boss warns public against getting ‘carried away’ as market picks up

The chairman of the agency tasked with clearing the bad debt amassed by Ireland’s property developers has warned people against getting “carried away” just because the market is showing signs of recovery.

Frank Daly, chairman of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), said he was unnerved last week when he heard a group of men talking about the time being ripe to get back into the property market.

“I was in company having a few pints and I heard fellas talking about how it’s ‘time to get back into property again, it’s time to invest, there’s good deals out there’. That frightens me a little. I just wonder sometimes do we learn anything at all?”

Mr Daly was speaking at an Irish Examiner business breakfast attended by members of the Construction Industry Federation in Cork yesterday. He said that while he hoped the country was “in a better space now”, the Irish were “great people for recidivism”.

“People fall back into old habits very quickly so I think it [responsible behaviour] has to start with the banks and responsible lending because much of this couldn’t have happened unless there was very easy money available,” he said.

Mr Daly said there was “no doubt the [financial] regulator fell down as well”. He said it was his hope that people in the property business had learned from past mistakes, and “I think they might be a little more careful in the future”.

Mr Daly said after 50 years in the business, he had not learned a whole lot new “except that you can get carried away with hubris, you can get carried away with just people talking, with everybody saying ‘property, get into it’.”

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