THE expensive transfer of state assets from nationalised Anglo Irish Bank to NAMA was branded “bizarre” by one of the country’s leading financial experts last night.
Former National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) boss Michael Somers raised questions about the situation at the MacGill summer school gathering in Glenties, Donegal.
Mr Somers said the only people who seemed to be benefiting out of the movement of toxic loans to NAMA were lawyers and professionals.
“I think NAMA has become a processor as much as anything else. There is a huge amount of processing and one thing that I find somewhat bizarre is that we are spending huge amounts of money transferring assets from one state body, namely Anglo, to NAMA – another state body – and the only people benefiting out of this are the professionals,” he said.
Mr Somers said although he supported the creation of NAMA, if he had a free hand at the time he would have put an “almighty arm lock” on the banks and told them to sort out the mess they had created.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore also expressed strong reservations about NAMA as he spoke at Glenties. “It’s become a community employment scheme for lawyers and a social welfare scheme – a very expensive one – for property developers that got themselves into trouble,” he said.
Mr Gilmore used an address to the summer school, on the theme of renewing the Republic, to predict that the next decade of politics would be driven by his party.
Mr Gilmore argued that Labour had stood aside in the struggle for independence for the national good, but now its time had finally come and it would soon be heading a Government for the first time.
Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton said major reform of the political system was needed alongside economic renewal to put the country back on the right road.
Mr Bruton said the boom had been built on fragile foundations and it would be essential to get the fundamental anchors of the economy correct if the route out of the slump was not to lead to another boom and bust cycle.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved