NAMA legislation must change to allow for accountability, says Higgins

Labour senator Lorraine Higgins has called for NAMA legislation to be changed to allow for more transparency and accountability.

Speaking in the Seanad last week, Senator Higgins said: "Arising out of the revelations relating to NAMA's activities in recent days, it is clear that much of what happened was facilitated by the veil of secrecy surrounding the agency's operations.

“The last Fianna Fáil government established NAMA at a cost of billions to the Irish taxpayer, yet required no transparency or accountability from the agency. It is clear to me that the legislation governing the agency, the NAMA Act, is severely limited in scope and has helped to create these recent problems, which run contrary to the public interest.

“The reality of the situation is that we don’t know what deals are being done, and we don’t know the identity of those buying property from the agency. It is not right to put private sector assets into a body which could be subject to influence, as there is no accountability.

"NAMA has a critical role to play in Ireland’s economic recovery, and we urgently need to restore confidence in the agency again. We need to start by reviewing the draconian power the agency possesses, and we need to look at amending the NAMA Act to make it more accountable and transparent to the Irish people.

"We cannot have unsavoury practices continuing to go on, and we must strive for better standards. For that reason I would request that the Minister for Finance and Minister for Justice come into this House early in the new year, to debate the possibility of amending the legislation to allow for accountability. Without doing so we will have learned nothing.”



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