Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 10:18 UK

No NI role in Irish bad bank plan

Finance minister Sammy Wilson
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson wanted a formal role for the Executive on Nama

There will be no role for the Northern Ireland Executive in the development of the Republic of Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Nama is to manage Irish bad debts and allow banks to start lending again.

NI Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said to safeguard NI's interests, he wanted the NI Executive to have a formal role in taking forward Nama.

However, the Irish Department of Finance said they did not envisage the NI Executive taking a formal role.

However, a spokesperson said they welcomed the dialogue and understood the concerns expressed by the NI minister.

In July, the Irish government announced plans to set up Nama - a so-called bad bank.

The intention is to unwind the crashed property market in an orderly way and allow the Republic's banks to start lending again.

The plan is supposed to involve the government buying property loans at a discount, then managing them in such a way that the Irish taxpayer will at least break even on the deal over about 10 years.

In return the banks are expected to start lending again with the money the government has paid them for the loans.


Mr Wilson met his Irish counterpart Brian Lenihan on Tuesday to discuss the impact Nama may have on NI's property market.

He said he had outlined his concerns about the importance of carefully managing the disposal of any assets in NI to contain any detrimental impact on the local property market and wider economy.

Initial estimates suggested the value of loans Nama might take over could be in the region of 90bn euro, with a considerable element of that located in the UK, much of it in Northern Ireland.

Mr Wilson used the meeting to underline his concerns at the impact on the Northern Ireland economy of any large-scale move to sell these assets off quickly.

"Nama will obviously have some influence over the management and possible disposal of significant assets located within Northern Ireland, most notably land and development assets," he said.

"It is imperative that this management adopts a prudent and considered position to ensure the long term interests of the Northern Ireland economy, and indeed that of the Republic of Ireland, are protected."

Politicians in Northern Ireland have been concerned that commercial property prices could be depressed further if Nama rapidly off-loads its NI assets.

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