After months playing the role of taxpayers’ hero against the villain bankers and developers, Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar has decided to challenge them at their own game by offering to sell his apartment to the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA).
If, as a mortgage holder in negative equity, his home is treated like the investment properties of the big developers, he should get €420,000 for an apartment worth €250,000.
And one of the key players in setting up the agency, Dr Michael Somers, believes it’s such a good idea, that he told Mr Varadkar: “I could be interested in looking at it myself.”
The opposition enterprise spokesman wrote to NAMA asking if it could come under the plan in which the State will buy toxic assets and take them off the balance sheets of the banks.
Like thousands of homeowners Mr Varadkar is in negative equity. And like hundreds of property developers, believes he should be allowed to sell his apartment “for the long-term economic value”.
Dr Somers — chairman of the National Treasury Management Agency which will ultimately oversee the operation of NAMA — wrote back to Dr Varadkar saying he was in a similar situation: “I certainly empathise with you,” he said.
Dr Somers said he would give the letter to Brendan McDonagh, the interim managing director of NAMA. “If your proposal is successful, I could be interested in looking at it myself,” he said.