Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, TD, and the Taoiseach to clarify their knowledge of issues regarding NAMA at the time of its publication and its effectiveness in getting credit flowing to Irish businesses.
During the Order of Business in the Seanad last week, Dr. Twomey said, ‘Speaking on the day of publication of the NAMA legislation last September, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Lenihan, said NAMA would strengthen and improve the funding position of the banks in order that they could lend to viable businesses and households. This means it would get credit flowing. The Taoiseach said the Government’s objective in restructuring the banks was to provide access to credit for Irish businesses at a critical time. When both individuals were making these statements, they clearly had evidence to the contrary, that it would not get credit flowing or that there were concerns about whether it would get credit flowing.’
Dr. Twomey requested that the Taoiseach make a statement to clarify what he knew and the reason he withheld this information from the public. ‘Those of us currently working as well as our children and grandchildren will have to pay back this €47 billion and will own two defunct banks, so we need an answer from the Taoiseach.’
‘Due to our lack of competiveness, foreign companies have been leaving our shores to set up business in cheaper, more cost effective economies. Our own Irish businesses who are the real life blood of this country are suffering. The Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan announced that her department would ‘consider’ establishing a state loan guarantee scheme for SMEs to promote banks to lend to viable businesses. If NAMA was working in the way stated by the Minister last September, why is the Tanaiste looking at a state loan guarantee for SMEs,’ questioned Dr. Twomey. ‘A difficulty in accessing credit was cited as one of the main problems for businesses today so we need to deal urgently with this issue.’
Dr. Twomey added that County Wexford has been particularly badly hit by the closure of a number of small businesses. ‘The figures on the live register went up 3.8% in January and to add to that, we now have the closure of the English based Halifax bank branches in Gorey and Wexford town, with the loss of more jobs.’
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