NAMA

Normally i’d steer clear of politics, but occasionally things comes along that are too big to ignore. Things that transcend national elections and won’t be yesterdays news tomorrow, or last years news in 2010, or possibly even old news in 2020 or 2030!

Right now there are two biggies – NAMA and the Lisbon Treaty. Both of these have the potential to make a big impact on Ireland, and the effects (good or bad) could be felt for generations.

This post is about NAMA, and the next one will be about the Lisbon Treaty…

Without labouring it too much the Irish landscape has changed. The country faces severe economic challenges, emigration is again in the vocabulary, and a big decision is about to be implemented.

What is this decision?

NAMANAMA – the National Asset Management Agency

NAMA in it’s most basic form will buy bad debts from troubled Irish banks and manage the disposal of associated assets (predominantly land and property) over the coming years.

The cost – 90 billion euros from the public purse.
The return – dependent on asset values at the time of sale.

There’s plenty of discussion – is it the right solution, is the cost too high, should it be implemented outside the freedom of information act, should there be further concensus etc etc…

But why talk about it on diaspora.ie?

The culture of the celtic tiger sent a new message – if you educate yourself, if you accept ambition and aspiration as worthy traits, if you put the work in, then you are entitled to see the rewards – Ireland became the land of opportunity.

Young talented students came out of the educational system confident they would be able to put their skills to work at home, Irish who left Ireland in previous decades returned to something new, the world looked on somewhat surprised but also in admiration – the diaspora could see a different country.

What happens next will affect the diaspora again. If NAMA works there will be an outlet for those aspirations and ambitions and emigration will take a back seat, if it fails then the opposite is possible. The Irish abroad will either be looking back at Ireland and thinking ‘same old story’, or they’ll be seeing a country that still has the ability and creativity of thinking to look after itself.

In the interests of balance here’s some of the key ‘for’, ‘against’ and ‘undecided’ camps:

For:
The official NAMA website and the Government Department of Finance

Undecided:
The Green Party

Against:
Fine Gael
The Labour Party
Sinn Fein
The Socialist Workers Party
The Socialist Party
David McWilliams “NAMA money pit could be our economic Stalingrad”
The Irish People Union

So will NAMA see the light of day, will it turn out to be one of the greatest Houdini acts ever, or will it end up being something else altogether…?

(and when will it appear in Wikipedia!)

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