“The alternative to State bailouts was a takeover by private equity groups, which were hovering over the carcasses of the Irish banks. If the private equity groups were allowed inside the door, the board, staff and culture of the banks would have been filleted. Suddenly re-capitalisation looked a lot more attractive”.
Shane Ross – ‘The Bankers’
Writers trying to get to the bottom of our banjaxed system in recent years have pitched up pithy titles such as ‘The Builders’, ‘The Bankers’ and ‘The Untouchables’, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see any books soon with NAMA in the title. Nama (The National Asset Management Agency) is complex, secretive, unloved and fairly maligned, meant for footnotes rather than headlines. Yet, looking through a list of properties owned by just a handful of the top developers taken in by Nama, it seems that few of us will have escaped engagement with the agency. There’s hardly a major shopping centre in the country, for example, that hasn’t passed through the agency’s books in the last four years.
Billions of euros spent writing off property loans have had an insidious effect on Irish society, causing hardship particularly for the young and vulnerable. Not only have the developers largely escaped any hardship but many retain the lavish lifestyles to which they had grown accustomed. Billionaires have been reduced to multi-millionaire status. That’s rich by any reckoning.
Read the full story in the Dec/Jan issue of Village, in shops now.