Questions as councils reject 4,000 Nama properties

Local authorities have been called upon to explain why they have turned down accepting some 4,000 properties for social housing in recent years.

The information emerged as Nama chiefs answered questions about the number of properties councils had taken on, while appearing at the Public Accounts Committee.

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh revealed that local authorities had turned down accepting some 4,044 properties of 6,565 offered to them for social housing since 2011.

Brendan McDonagh
Brendan McDonagh

The remaining 2,500 properties are being considered for use by councils across the country, 2,000 of which could be ready for use by the end of the year.

The 4,000 properties that councils did not use have since been sold to the private sector,

Mr McDonagh yesterday agreed that local authorities had “missed the boat”.

Local authorities gave differing reasons why the properties were not suitable, Nama sources say, including their desire to have mixed developments.

Meanwhile, the agency has revealed that a company accused of bribing Nama officials with thousands of euro to exit its debt arrangements is still operating under its auspices.

Independent TD Mick Wallace claimed in the Dáil previously that two amounts of €15,000 were paid to officials in a brown paper bag by a company so they could leave Nama.

Questions as councils reject 4,000 Nama properties

Mr McDonagh said yesterday that gardaí were still investigating the claim. “The company mentioned to us is still very much with us, and is not out of Nama. It has had no debt write-off in Nama.

“I don’t think people who pay €30,000 would be still stuck in Nama.”

Elsewhere, Mr McDonagh issued a stern warning about the housing crisis.

He admitted there were some 7,000 acres of land held by debtors in Nama in the country’s four major cities.

Despite a large amount of land being made available, only 900 of a potential 11,000 properties had been built. A much deeper problem was to blame, he said,

Mr McDonagh claimed that development levies were too high, as were borrowing costs for developers. He said there could be an extra 2,000 properties built in Dun Laoghaire, south Dublin, but that levies there were €55,000 compared to an average €10,000 in other parts of the country.

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