Not quite the ‘whole truth’ on NAMA

In the course of debates about NAMA, the Minister for Finance was keen to tell us how supportive the IMF was of the project. Why did he not inform the Houses that the IMF was of the solemn view that the NAMA project would not have any impact and would not lead to a significant increase in lending by Irish banks? There have been many references to the quality of the debate in these Houses, so why did he not give us that single, important piece of information?

Of course, he did not give us that information because it did not suit his purposes to tell us. It is a dereliction of duty to these Houses not to tell us what the IMF has said just because it does not suit the Government’s case, especially since the Government is so quick to invoke the IMF in its support. That is wrong. Why is a freedom of information request by a newspaper required to extract what the IMF thinks on these matters?

The following statement also had to be extracted by way of a freedom of information request and it will surprise colleagues to hear who the author is:

This legislation does not guarantee that credit required by the economy will be provided. This is a life-support measure for the banking system, ie, a bailout for the banking system and primarily for AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Deputy Seán Fleming, Fianna Fáil, Chairman of an Oireachtas committee, made that statement but it had to be extracted by way of a Freedom of Information request. We must have all the information available to us when we have a debate in these Houses. There is no point in the Government selecting the information that suits. If it wants to tell us the IMF is in favour of something, let it give us all of the information coming from the IMF and not be selective for its own purposes. I do not have time to debate whether NAMA will lead to credit flowing – it is incorrect to say the Government side did not make as a central part of its case that NAMA would restore lending to the economy and small businesses in particular

That was the case made over and over again. The case was made as recently as yesterday by the Minister for Finance when he said the purchasing of bad loans by NAMA would increase to ensure the banks could get back to lending. That was the case being made and there is an attempt being made to resile from that position.