NAMA legislation is passed

Thursday 12 November 2009 22.21
1 of 2
NAMA - Amendment to act
NAMA - Amendment to act
Eamon Gilmore - Objected to 'guillotine'
Eamon Gilmore - Objected to 'guillotine'

The legislation giving effect to the setting up of the National Asset Management Agency has passed all stages in the Dáil and Seanad.

In a Dáil vote, the Government side won 81 to 62.

Among the amendments made today was to provide protection for those who work for NAMA or the financial institutions who report misconduct.

The NAMA Bill finally cleared its last hurdle in the Dáil and Seanad on its passage into becoming law after more than 90 hours of debate.

37 amendments were up for consideration today by TDs but in the end only 11 were discussed.

The Opposition complained not enough was given over for the debate - a charge rejected by the Government side.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said it was the biggest corporate welfare cheque ever written, 'while we are told there is no money for the Christmas bonus and other areas'.

FG's Kieran O'Donnell said many of the important amendments have not been discussed.

Sinn Féin’s Caoighmhín Ó Caoláin said 37 amendments from the Government is an admission on their part that what was already discussed in the Dáil was flawed.

In response, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said that the legislation has been discussed for 86 hours in the Dáil and 36 hours in the Seanad.

The main change made today was to provide protection for whistleblowers who work for NAMA or in the banks who report certain misconduct.

The Bill then returned briefly back to the Seanad where members there signed off on that amendment.

Concluding the Dáil debate, Minister of State Peter Power said the test of the legislation will be whether credit begins to flow in the economy. Only time will answer that question, he said.

It is now due to be signed into law by President Mary McAleese.

Meanwhile, the Act giving legal affect to National Asset Management Agency will not be published simultaneously in Irish and English, as required by law.

The Official Languages Act states that texts of acts shall be published in both official languages simultaneously.

However, an amendment by the Department of Finance has been passed that says that section of the Act does not apply in the case of the NAMA legislation.

A Department of Finance spokesman said the amendment was added to ensure that, given the size of the Bill, there was no delay in its enactment.