‘Nama’s Answer To My Question Is Not True’


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You may recall previous claims made by Independent TD Mick Wallace in the Dáil about the sale of Nama’s northern Ireland portfolio, Project Eagle.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today, Mr Wallace made further claims, alleging that Nama gave him an ‘untrue’ answer in relation to a question he asked about Nama’s former head of asset recovery, Ronnie Hanna.

In addition, Mr Wallace said:

Ronnie Hanna was part of a cabal to seek payment for affecting the biggest property deal in the history of the State.”

The Irish Times has since reported a Nama spokesman saying:

Deputy Wallace has today falsely accused Nama of giving untrue answers to his questions. He is wrong to do so.”

Meanwhile, in response to his claims, Tánaiste Joan Burton told the Dáil:

As somebody who was involved in the building trade, I know from some of the public records and the media that he suffered. This does not mean that because he feels a very strong personal sense of grievance, which I understand, that his claims of wrongdoing against NAMA stand up.

From the Dáil proceedings…

Mick Wallace: “I have been co-operating with An Garda Síochána on a number of issues relating to NAMA and it has been back to me regarding some of these issues. As the Tánaiste is aware, I have asked many questions in the Chamber about NAMA but I have not got many answers. In fact I have got none. I have put some of the questions and others to NAMA directly and I have got answers from it, some satisfactory and some not. One of the questions I asked about Project Eagle was whether Ronnie Hanna, along with Frank Cushnahan or David Watters, ever met any US investment fund personnel. NAMA’s reply was “No”, that Mr. Hanna had no such meetings with these individuals. We now know that Ronnie Hanna, head of asset recovery in NAMA, did meet at least one of the US investment funds. NAMA’s answer to my question is not true.”

“PIMCO pulled out of the Project Eagle deal because its compliance department would not agree to the success fee. Cerberus replaced it and paid the success fee. What would PIMCO have got for this fee? What did Cerberus get for the fee? It got insider information and the ability to affect the deal. An executive of NAMA, Ronnie Hanna, was part of a cabal to seek payment for affecting the biggest property deal in the history of the State. The three individuals, Ronnie Hanna, David Watters and Frank Cushnahan, had information above and beyond what was available in the data room. David Watters had reviewed the business plan for many of the debtors.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Michael Kitt: “The Deputy is naming many names…”

Peter Mathews: “We need them.”

Kitt: “… and it is a long-standing convention that accusations should not be made against people outside of the House.”

Wallace: “These are all in the public domain.”

Robert Dowds: “Go before the Committee of Public Accounts on this.”

Wallace: “Frank Cushnahan was looking after the political side in the North and Ronnie Hanna was looking after matters inside NAMA in Dublin. We are not talking about Belfast; this is Dublin. This is at the heart of NAMA in Dublin, and this is on the Tánaiste’s watch. The Taoiseach assured us that NAMA had dealt comprehensively with all matters put to it at the Committee of Public Accounts, but what is this worth now? We need an independent commission of inquiry. I realise that Fine Gael certainly does not want one, but the Tánaiste is the leader of the Labour Party and she should ensure there is an independent commission of inquiry.”

Tánaiste Joan Burton: “With regard to Project Eagle, I am advised the loan sale was executed in a proper manner, and despite all the different charges the Deputy has made, and charges against named individuals who are not in a position to comment or defend their good name in the House…”

Bernard Durkan: “Hear, hear.”

Burton: “…but the Deputy has named them nonetheless, I am told the facts are there are no claims of wrongdoing against NAMA. However, the Deputy clearly has issues with regard to the people he has named.”

Clearly, at the base or back of his particular complaints is probably his own unfortunate experience, to which he has referred on many occasions. Understandably, he has a very strong vested interest in, and probably even stronger feelings about, what happened in the context of the collapse in the values of properties when the economy and property valuations collapsed. A portfolio worth almost €6 billion, like many people’s personal domestic houses, lost 60%, 70%, 80% or 90% of its value. If the Deputy is saying this loss of value can be attributed entirely to NAMA, and not to the actual impact of one of the most devastating property crashes in the world, then I want to acknowledge he has suffered.”

Mathews: “It was a banking crash that led to a property crash.”

Burton:As somebody who was involved in the building trade, I know from some of the public records and the media that he suffered. This does not mean that because he feels a very strong personal sense of grievance, which I understand, that his claims of wrongdoing against NAMA stand up. I said to him before on this that NAMA is answerable to the Committee of Public Accounts. I strongly advise the Deputy to take the issues he has raised here, if they are additional to the issues he has already raised, to the Committee of Public Accounts and seek to have them examined there. He knows as well, because we discussed it on a previous occasion, that in the North the Comptroller and Auditor General there is conducting a value for money review into the Northern Ireland sale, and I strongly recommend that the Deputy seeks to get the findings of this report and what it will have to say.

Mary Lou McDonald: “That report is happening here and not in the North.”

Kitt: “Under Standing Order 59 there is a mechanism whereby a Deputy can give prior notice to the Ceann Comhairle concerning matters in the nature of being defamatory and Deputy Wallace should avail of this. I ask him not to name people who are outside the House.”

Wallace: Any allegations I have made against NAMA have zero to do with my business. I never had interaction with NAMA through my business. I did not go into NAMA. The Tánaiste seems to be deliberately failing to interpret what I have said. I have given her some new information and I have outlined how I was told untruths by NAMA when it was questioned. The Tánaiste does not seem to have a problem with this. This is shocking.”

Pearse Doherty: “Hear, hear.”

Wallace: “It has nothing to do with me; it has to do with the people. NAMA has failed to serve them properly. There are serious question marks. An executive of NAMA, Ronnie Hanna, in Dublin, deliberately interfered in the process. Does the Tánaiste not have a problem with this? Is she just going to let this flow on and not look for a proper independent commission of investigation into this? Is this possible? I find it hard to credit.”

Eric J. Byrne: “Say it before the Committee of Public Accounts.”

Dowds: “Go before the Committee of Public Accounts on this.”

Wallace: “I will put a number of questions to the Tánaiste, and she should get answers to them from NAMA. It might tell her the truth. What date and time and to whom was the Fortress bid submitted? What date and time and to whom was the Cerberus bid submitted? Were the bidders advised that the bids were to be the best and final bids? Were they advised that the reserve was £1.24 billion? When and by whom was Fortress advised that its bid was not successful? Did Fortress offer in writing or verbally to increase its bid? Mr. Hanna resigned six months to the day after the Cerberus deal went through. Why?

Arthur Spring: “Does Deputy Wallace know the answers to any of those questions?”

Burton: “I appreciate the Deputy’s concern in the matter, and if he has had no contact with NAMA, I accept that, but I certainly have seen in the public media and I am aware that he was a very fine developer and builder who lost out, as so many others did, in the course of the property collapse in Ireland.”

Clare Daly: “What has that got to do with it?”

Mathews: “That has nothing do with it. How dare the Tánaiste say that? The Tánaiste should withdraw that remark as it has nothing to do with Deputy Wallace’s question.”

Burton: “The Deputy has set out on Leaders’ Questions a series of very detailed questions relating to a specific institution – NAMA – that is answerable to the Committee of Public Accounts. The Deputy is, I suppose, using a trick deployed by lawyers. He is asking a question and he is very confident he knows the answer to it but I have had no notice of it.”

Nama accuses Mick Wallace of making false allegations on Project Eagle (Irish Times)

Previously: Project Eagle And The €3.5 Billion Haircut

‘Cerberus Told Me I Was Going To Get Sorted’

Transcript: Oireachtas.ie

44 thoughts on “‘Nama’s Answer To My Question Is Not True’

  1. :-Joe

    Haha.. sly move by Burton… make it personal with a patronising and condescending tone.

    Thatcher would be proud…

    G’wan the Wallace… keep kicking against the pricks..


    1. classter

      ‘Cept he’s not ‘kicking against the pricks’.

      He is grandstanding.

      The difference in preparation & execution between himself & Catherine Murphy is striking.

      None of that is to defend Burton nor NAMA but Wallace is making it easy for them.

        1. All the good ones fly south for winter

          Finding Murphy – The new fun family board game from Mattel. Each player gets a Murphy to hide. Can you find all the other Murphys before your Murphy is found.

        2. Lilly

          Why do you think someone is funding Murphy? Why would she need additional funding to do the job she is amply paid to do.

          1. FreshFish

            Because she’s just too good at what she’s doing Lilly. Too good to be doing it all herself on an independent TD’s salary.

          2. Lilly

            Don’t you mean helping her so, providing her with concise, relevant information? I can’t see where funding comes into it.

          3. Anomanomanom

            She get thousands extra as a “leaders” allowance. All independent tds get it. Maybe she uses that.

          4. FreshFish

            I’m using the term in a general sense Lilly you can call it benefit in kind or what have you.

            It would be very naive to think that these two lasses admirable as they both are are doing this all off their own bat.

  2. whatdafup

    I’m a fan of Wallace and he has form, but does he have anything concrete or is he just trying to smoke the out. Could be a dangerous strategy as they look to cover any tracks

      1. FreshFish

        That contribution was up to your usual stellar standards. Have you considered a career in life coaching?

    1. jk500

      They are making these allegations for gain alright – political gain. No that there’s anything wrong with that – their job is to question those running the country. They are asking serious questions that should be answered. The idea that they are getting funded is nonsense.

      Joan Burton’s answers are nothing short of a disgrace.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      I think she’s drunk on power. She was owwight til she got into Gubmint: now she’s a total bag-a-ladyparts.

  3. ahyeah

    What’s going on here is a desperately sad insight into what passes for democracy in this country. Generally find the parallels being drawn daily with 1916 pretty pathetic but it’s unfortunately apt here.

  4. DubLoony

    And Wallace is one of those leaders? He underpaid his employees pensions so he could look after himself. He’s not looking after the little guy.
    Any other country he’s be out on his ear.

    We need a permanent anti-corruption agency in this state, properly resourced so that dodgy dealings can be investigated. Tribunals, committees of questionably qualified TDs isn’t good enough.

    1. Skeptical O'Hare

      Oh dear DubLoony. A cross eyed glance at Google would inform you that Wallace didn’t underpay his employee’s pensions, nor did he fail to pay his employee’s pensions, as has been pointed out in BS post comments many, many, many times before.

      I do agree the state needs an anti-corruption agency, but I doubt either of the two main political parties in this country have an appetite for that.

      1. DubLoony

        Hey, its late and I’m on a slow public WiFi. I do think there’s a problem but we don’t have mature structures to deal with it. If Wallace has Dáil priviliage and has something to say, then come out with it and stop bluffing.

      2. linbinius

        “state needs an anti-corruption agency”. Social Democrats are the only party to put forward a cohesive plan to put one in place.

        Did anyone see the Renua video with the step by step guide to their plan? It’s on youtube. Great craic.

        Some state of affairs when Wallace is the consistent mouth piece in Dáil Éireann on such matters…maybe he isn’t but certainly the more prominent.

        Saw Bernie Hughes today protesting something outside the credit union in Finglas today (fairly sure that guy was prosecuted and the credit unions are opening credit on reasonable terms…could be wrong?).. Jesus funkin Christ though…Just a little perspective on Wallace…

  5. some old queen

    I’m pretty sure Mick has dirt on NAMA. If they couldn’t be trusted to sell assets without snought’s in the trough then all this austerity bullshit goes flying out the window.

  6. some old queen

    I’m pretty sure Mick has dirt on NAaaMama. If they couldn’t be trusted to sell assets without snoughts in the trough then all this austerity bullpoo goes flying out the window.

  7. Liam Deliverance

    I have been following this story closely and I tend to believe Wallace. He has been consistent all along. First we had Enda and now Joan saying the Deputy is talking nonsense. You would think that with the astronomical amounts of money involved here that a small investigation might show if there is any truth in it and if it was worth pursuing. I’m guessing this is one hot potato that the Gov would rather keep in the air until after the GE. We are talking about NAMA after all. Possibly the longest running, most expensive, most complex “independent inquiry” will be attributed to NAMA in years to come. Wallace needs support from other deputy’s on this and from the above dialogue in the house it sounds like that is starting to happen.

    Same Old Queen – Snout – Sorry! – (Good point re:Austerity out the window)

    1. kellma

      This government are inundated with hot potatoes they are feverishly trying to bat away before the next election (8th amendment, NAMA corruption, Political interference in Mary Boyle murder investigation, to name but a few….) Their hands must be scalded.

  8. some old queen

    It’s ‘some old queen’ no caps but tnx on the spell check. Either Wallace is bluffing in which case he will look like a fool OR what happened up North today is of significance. Time will tell.

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