Longford councillors raise concerns over NAMA

State agency facing calls to release property portfolio details

Longford councillors raise concerns over NAMA
By Liam Cosgrove

'Unscrupulous” developers are buying back their assets at knockdown prices from NAMA, it has been claimed.

Cllr Mae Sexton said the practice was prevalent not just in Dublin but in counties like Longford and further afield.

Speaking at last week's county council meeting, the Independent councillor said the issue had been brought to her attention after a local constituent had unsuccessfully tried to purchase a premises in Longford.

“What is happening is that some people are going into NAMA and are getting a third party to purchase back their property at a phenomenally low rate,” she insisted.

Cllr Sexton said the only way to establish greater transparency in the workings of NAMA was by compelling the State agency to release a list of all properties currently under its watch across Co Longford.

And she warned that unless local authorities and government took a stronger hand over its dealings, the nation was staring at yet another controversy.

“These unscrupulous people are making a laugh of people who have agreed to cuts in services and are paying additional taxes with great difficulty.

“Yet, you have these unscrupulous people out there who are trying to pull a fast one,” she added.

Fine Gael Cllr Micheal Carrigy said NAMA was obliged to disclose what properties it retained on its loan books as the agency was set up to achieve the best possible results for the taxpayer.

Fianna Fail's Seamus Butler said serious question marks remained on how NAMA was originally established.

“They hide under this cloak of commercial sensitivity,” he stressed.

“But I think when the story of the Irish recession is told, NAMA will be the shining example of an atrocious situation.

“What's worse is here we are in the year 2016 celebrating the (Irish) Republic, but this is not the way a Republic should behave.”