Note to members: The NEC agreed to circulate an e-mail to members on behalf of the 5 Constituency Groups that called for a Special Convention on NAMA as below.
Dear Fellow Greens,
In July of this year five Green Party constituency groups resolved to ask the NEC of our party to convene a Special Members’ Convention on NAMA, the proposed National Asset Management Agency. We made this request in order to address the profound concerns that our local members and many other Greens have about the intent and detail of this proposal
The concerns that we have about the proposed NAMA legislation are many.
Particularly we feel that the price we are being asked to pay is far too high. Each of us is being required to take on enormous long term debt in an unrealistic attempt to get credit flowing.
The projected success of NAMA is based on the assumption that the country is about to turn the corner and go into a growth phase. This outcome is not at all certain. We have high and rising unemployment and it has all the appearance of being structural rather than cyclical in nature.
While the houses, shops and offices were being built with borrowed money the country has become uncompetitive in the manufacturing sector. We have missed out on the knowledge economy and the new Green economy. High unemployment will be with us for much longer than the supporters of this plan assume and the only relief valve will be emigration.
The interest cost of NAMA is initially tied to the European Central Bank rate. This will increase as Europe recovers and indeed will be affected by the recoveries in the US and UK where many of the acquired assets are located. This means further losses for the Irish economy.
Here at home NAMA has a major flaw. We have built far too many houses, too many shops and too many offices. Taking properties off the market will not solve the problem. The market will stagnate and property prices values will stay low. That’s how a market works and we should recognise it and deal with it.
The most reprehensible element of this episode has been the instillation of fear into the electorate. It is alleged that if we let the bank bondholders take a hit we will endanger the national finances and the cost of servicing our sovereign debt will soar.
This is a convenient blurring of the worlds of national debt and corporate debt. If we allow this blurring to go unchecked we will meld bank debt to our national debt and then we will be loaded with a huge financial millstone which will dog us into the future. The truth is that if these assets were worth anything the banks would not be handing them over to the exchequer.
Speculators received the vast bulk of banks profits all through the boom years. When you heard of AIB making €3bn or €4bn profits in their half yearly returns, it was these folk who were cleaning up. In the US ninety-eight banks have gone bust this year. In all cases the speculators and bondholders have taken the hit. Should it be any different in Ireland?
The economic dysfunction built into this measure will ensure substantial job losses in the public sector and major cuts in public services while providing tax relief for the people who have created this mess.
It is not the intention of our groups to derail the Programme for Government, nor is it our intention to divide our party. Our purpose to ensure that the proposed NAMA bill will not limit any future good that the Green Party can achieve in government, will not create another unsustainable property bubble, will not punish the vulnerable and the less well off and will not force our children to pay for the economic mismanagement of our generation.
We, call on you, our fellow Greens, not to let the prevailing uncertainty prevent you from making the right choices. We are not however going to presume to tell you how to vote on this crucial day. We trust that you will make your own informed choices.
Bert McCann, Secretary, North Kerry DCG
Ben Nutty, Waterford, DCG
Gary Fitzgerald, Dublin Central DCG
Bernard Lennon, Secretary, South Tipperary, DCG
John Lambe. Secretary, Dublin South-Central, DCG