Nama 'a financial millstone' - Gilmore


Nama will be a financial millstone for future generations and must be stopped, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said this afternoon ahead of a Dáil debate on the proposal.

He said the debate on the Nama Bill was “the most important that we have ever had in the 90-year history of the Dáil.”

“It is essential that we sort out the banks, and get credit flowing again so that we can save jobs under threat and get people back to work again,” he said.

“But it is also essential that we get it right, because once this legislation is passed there will be no going back. A new government will not be able to reverse course, once the process of acquiring the dodgy loans begins.”

“And the Government approach is wrong and that is why the Nama Bill must be stopped,” he added.

Mr Gilmore said there was a real danger that the Government would end up paying grossly inflated prices for properties, placing a financial millstone around not just the current generation of taxpayers, but possible the next generation also.

“The same Fianna Fáil that wasted millions and millions of taxpayers’ moneys on PPARs, electronic voting, the Fás scandal and endless junkets and perks for Ministers, now wants to put billions of taxpayers’ money at risk,” he said.

He said there was growing opposition to Nama and increasing support for the alternative of the temporary nationalisation of the main banks.

He said it was shocking that the Green Party "has been prepared to back up the Fianna Fáil plan to bail out the bankers and developers."

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said his party “would do all in its power to stop the passage of the Nama legislation through the Dáil.”

Mr Ó Caoláin publicly called on TDs and Senators to sign a petition to the president for Nama to be put to a referendum. He said the Fianna Fáil and the Green Party "could not be allowed to take €15,000 off every man woman and child in the country with a simple majority vote in the Dáil.

“TDs returning to the Dáil this week are faced with a dilemma of unprecedented proportions in Irish history. After years of economic mismanagement and a culture of corruption which have caused record levels of unemployment and economic chaos this current Fianna Fáil led Government is attempting to legalise corruption with its Nama legislation. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

The Unite trade union also called for a halt to the Nama legislation in its current format in order that its impact on the country and on future generations can be properly assessed.

"We need to consider the reasons behind the bail out of the banks and the property developers and whether this is the right way," said the union's regional secretary Jimmy Kelly.

About 200 union members from Siptu and the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) also took part in the demonstration.

Siptu national industrial secretary Gerry McCormack said the protest sent out a
clear message that the country did not want Nama. “People are angry. They don’t understand why the people of this country are being threatened every day with their jobs and we have these people, the bankers and speculators, being bailed out by the Government,” he said.

“If we’re going to pay for the bail-out of these banks then we should at least
own them.”

Earlier, protesters from the United Alliance Against Cuts (UAAC) gathered at
Leinster House and vowed to continue demonstrations against Nama. Activists dressed as bankers in gold suits stood at the gates of the building, bearing wads of fake cash and tricolour flags which read “Ireland for Sale”.

UAAC spokesman Richard Boyd Barrett said the protests would continue until the
Nama scheme was abandoned. “There’s daylight robbery going on in the building behind us - the Government take billions of public money and pour it into these banks and developers,” he said.

“We’re going to be escalating our protests until this crazy Nama plan is off
the agenda and the responsibility is laid at the door of the people who put us
in this crisis in the first place.”

Addtional reporting: PA