CITIZEN JOURNALISM: NAMA (2009): BBC Spotlight programme March 1st 2016 – Financial ruin in Ireland. What have we learned from history?

NAMA – Words, Sentences, Theories Abound In Ireland written 2009 and updated March 2016

March 1st 2016:  BBC Spotlight programme which has placed NAMA at the centre of US Security Exchange Commission “SEC” investigations; and the Northern Ireland Crimes agency.  Two points: The Criminal Assets Bureau “CAB” who have successfully investigated in detail the fraud charges against Mr “Slab” Thomas Murphy are noticeable by their absence in this quite shocking corruption that implicates NAMA based in Dublin and the North of Ireland.  Secondly, the absence of Sinn Fein.

This BBC Spotlight programme highlights the corrupt endeavours of such a political heist by people in power in Northern Ireland.  BBC Spotlight thankfully undertook to engage in this damning investigation of NAMA one the world largest holders of property and what is in effect corruption and insider trading.  The Securities Exchange Commission “SEC”  in the US are investigating this under their legislation relating to insider trading, bribery, and the protection of whistleblowers (Mr Miskelly, Developer, Co. Down).

Ireland post election:  We are in limbo.  This must be placed on the agenda and the Criminal Assets Bureau must represent Southern Ireland.  This too makes it an urgent political decision which merits discussion now.  For those who are now elected but awaiting …. please watch this programme.  This is a crisis too.

BBC Spotlight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_wcIHrogrU


May 3rd, 2009 16:30
by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity
Open Publishing/Citizen Journal site is the source.  No further articles permitted to site by year end 2009

What can we the plain people of Ireland contribute to the theorists, the politicians, the business people, the developers, the professions?  I would suggest a little common sense is needed.

What can we, the plain people of Ireland, contribute to the Theorists, Government politicians, the Bankers, the professions, the economists – to those who have constructed NAMA. These are the people we must learn to trust and if this is so, we the plain people of Ireland must be able to contribute our views, in a collective way, as part of the people grassroots press.  The common sense view is free and this is about democracy.

What is NAMA? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Asset_Management_Agency

Simon Carswell, Journalist Irish Times,  has written an excellent book which is called ‘Something Rotten – Irish Banking Scandals’. It is worth reading particularly if you can recall the Banking Scandals that have already occurred in Ireland.

As reminder, they read as follows:

  • Irish Trust Bank and Ken Bates – Ireland’s first major banking collapse
  • Patrick Gallagher and Merchant Banking, the downfall of a property tycoon (I remember this particularly well)
  • PMPA, the failure of Ireland’s biggest insurance company and the lost deposits
  • Insurance Corporation of Ireland: the State’s bail out of Ireland’s biggest bank
  • Edmund Farrell, his removal from Irish permanent
  • Ansbacher: a secret bank for Ireland’s golden circle
  • National Irish bank, encouraging tax evasion and ripping off customers
  • The DIRT Scandal, bogus non resident accounts……
  • Offshore tax evasion, nowhere left to hide hot money (Not true, FT makes interesting reading about offshore accounts)
  • Politicians and the banks, clearing debts for VIP customers
  • John Rusnak lost $691 million
  • AIB and Foreign Exchange
  • AIB and the Faldor scandal
  • and so many more; and so few prison sentences for white collar criminals unlike the US, the UK and of course Iceland.

George Santayana speaks words of wisdom, ‘Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’.

I ask how did Ireland get caught out by developers, banks, business people, brokers, etc. at such quick haste from the last financial crisis, as experienced by most people in a certain age group, given the chapters in Simon Carswell’s book, as highlighted above?

How much of where we are at, is in fact due to the Global emphasis undertaken worldwide from the 1980’s onward.

Wednesday Irish Times 29th April 2009, I noticed a most intriguing article from Simon Carswell, Finance Correspondent.

We all are aware that Sweden encountered a similar crisis to what Ireland is now facing circa 1990. There is a Swedish model per consequence. A valuer who was appointed by the Swedish Government to a nominated ‘vehicle’ to determine property values during Sweden’s banking crisis reported that there was a period of denial about the problems in the market but he went on to say that this can ‘destroy’ the value of properties.

Now this is a gem of wisdom to those of us around in the early 1980’s, those of us forced to emigrate to a prosperous UK only to find that the markets had crashed in the early 1990’s, unemployment and negative equity determined outcomes and movement to countries that could provide work.   For Ireland, this is the time, we are least at guard, this is the time, we need to take a deep breath and open our minds to solutions as distinct from blaming people. The people we blame have already lost significant sums of money, we need to ensure that we harness the talents in people and avoid diminishing people to sickness due to stress and long term unemployment. We need to focus on strengths with good common sense.

Today on Radio 1, RTE. Professor Honohan, Trinity College Dublin,  spoke and his words were blunt. If the Government did not give the Guarantee, AIB and Bank of Ireland would be insolvent right now. He went on to say, some powerful political party had a very unhealthy relationship with property developers for too long. We are now worse off than Iceland according to Professor Honohan. He stated that Iceland was getting its act together internally and there is a slight improvement in their economy. Ireland, he said has got to face up to some hard facts. Professor Honohan welcomed NAMA with a caution that NAMA  has to be independent of any political interference.

NOTHING HAS REALLY CHANGED SINCE LEMASS.

Michelle Clarke.


May 7th, 2009 19:52

Nothing is impossible. Recessions can Lift, with the will of people

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity 

We are living in precarious times. NAMA conjures up uncertainty.

Professor Honohan, Trinity College, and Professor Brian Lucey, David McWilliams, and Brian Keenan, all esteemed economists, and let us not forget, and I am not Fine Gael, Richard Bruton’s apprehensions also. NAMA is a risk. Why?

Well – the scale of the worth and value of retrieving the toxic loans. We all realise we must chase the developers for the missing billions, that were subject to abuse from idiotic banking and government approval during the myth of the Celtic Tiger. Prominent analysis – I mean people that have been through various recessions have stated this is the worst recession for decades. Only for government interaction, our banks would have collapsed. Yet today on Radio 1, the people who have borrowed the least are being hounded. Why?

One man’s story goes as follows – I bought a new truck for Euros 130,000. I have paid back Euros 68,000, I asked the Bank for some leeway due to the shortage of work. The ‘Heavies’ came and drove my truck away in front of my wife and children. Joe Duffy Monday to Friday Liveline programme on RTE was lost for words. Various callers and similar stories came from the ordinary man and people being hounded to pay debts owed.  Joe Higgins phoned in and asked whether those developers who owe billions are receiving the same treatment. The taxpayer bailed out the banks but the Government bailed out the developers – I ask why.

It is easy to put pressure on small businesses. Bank managers can call to your home; get their secretaries to phone you several times a day, but for the Developers, the story different. Firstly, they are armed with a staff that can deflect the requests with a myriad of excuses. This has always been the case. In the time the Gallagher Group went ‘belly up’, so many suppliers were affected. Suppliers were lured to the hype of further development of properties on Stephen’s Green, that they allowed debts to mount. 3 month agreements to pay became 4, 5, and even 6. Then the day came, and not just Gallagher’s went to the Wall but so many suppliers also. The ripple effect was so bad that people who had bought houses in Laurel Lodge in Castleknock found that sites had been sold to independent builders but nobody had agreed to service the sites so as a result people were left without serviced sites for a number of years. This was the 1980’s and this meant houses sold at £39,000 were only worth approx. euros£29,000. It takes years for small business losses to be really assessed if ever.

Thread gently, I would suggest, in relation to the individual punter, the small business. Nobody knows, the person given a ‘chance’ could be the ‘Googler’ of the future (1st 1 billion brand name). Remember, we have a responsibility to future generations, we must act in a highly responsible way, at every left of the pyramid.

Former President Robinson recognised the potential of our Irish diaspora. For those of us who emigrated, we appreciated this gesture. I believe that there are well educated, experienced, even people with a solid capital base, who would be willing to return to Ireland and take up the challenge offered by NAMA. After all, the toxic debts relate to a value on say development property but a member of a Diaspora would have a broader vision and may be able to ‘bid up the value’, based on a broader spectrum of experience.

The Celtic Tiger sold a Political Culture and it was a success given the positives of the early 1990’s. There was planning, the was inspiration, there was vision. Now we have to embrace change. We are moving towards the knowledge economy and the diaspora are there to be tapped; add to this the ethical, social and corporate responsibility that is evidenced emanating from Harvard, Cornell, and who knows, what the Island of Ireland can achieve?

We all are aware of denominations. North and South merchandise conflict, has arisen out of the Euro value to Stg. value, we know this of old, and we know this when we travel to the US or Tokyo etc. Out of the blue, Tesco’s were forced to match the competitive advantage and the altered prices in the Tesco shops south of the border to stave off people going North to buyer cheaper products. The Euro removed controls from the Central Bank ……. influence over interest rates, and currency purchase rules…………What IF, Ireland decided to pull out of the Euro and say align with Sterling……..this is an unknown dimension, that would change considerably the value of toxic debts. It is a What If? but who knows?

Michelle Clarke

Jonathan Swift
‘Give vision to the visionless’


 

May 9th, 2009 18:56
NAMA:  IT IS TO EASY TO BLAME AND CRY OUT IRELAND IS BANKRUPT

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity

Ireland may be bankrupt, the IMF may be called in but the Island of Ireland needs to embrace some hope and re-construct the Balance Sheet that has us gripped in panic and fear of another depression.

You meet people and ask their view about the economy and they say, I have given up on the newspapers, I don’t listen to the news, I hone in on sports, I don’t listen to moaners. Yes, this is denial but what value has this in our times of crisis?

Never before have so many people so much access to information. The world wide web has provided this. Yet, we moan, we are losing computer jobs in Dell etc. because, as strategically planned, these jobs would follow target cheaper labour markets, as people in Ireland accessed the Knowledge era. This resulted in Ireland when people like Chuck Feeney (Atlantic Philantropies https://en.wikipedia.orgwikiAtlantic_Philanthropies   committed themselves to Education in Ireland.  Through Atlantic Philantropies and a veil of secrecy, people, met, talked, planned and brought the necessary Credo and funds to Ireland to educate the people so that we benefited from an additional tier of educated people. Remember the 1980’s recession caused massive emigration but unlike the 1950’s, Ireland was credited in the UK, US, Europe for the calibre of educated people who traveled at that time. Movement, migration, can involve another kind of education and that is experience; this must be acknowledged and hence Ireland moved into the Global Financial markets. Ireland too had a dream that resulted in the Celtic Tiger which too easily conjures up the concept of speed but few people realise the speed is about distance in a short space of time. Ireland, embraced the Peace Process and we have achieved a dream in the Unity of the Island during this period and this too is completed in a very short space of time. Let us not lose out on this.

I lived in Zimbabwe in the 1980’s/ early 1990’s. President Mugabe and joint President Nkomo (Ndebele and Mashona tribes – Civil war) had considerable access to Irish history and our Independence process.  I would say, they were led more astray than we were and dictatorship evolved in Rhodesia in transition to Zimbabwe.  The Island of Ireland, we have moved on.

What did we do with our Celtic Tiger opportunities? There is an article well worth reading in the Financial Times supplement titled ‘How Greed turned into Panic’, an extract from a book written by Gillian Tett.

Neatly, it gets to grips with what bankers do, when they want ‘more, better, best’ in their Parent Bank. They are driven by the need to succeed. For what motivation can be questioned, but invariably they seek power, position, upper echelon society locations to live in, the holidays to take, the numbers (we all know people who fall into this elitist group and what makes them and creates their mindsets, is highly questionable?

Gillian Tett’s book is advertised in the Financial Times Bookshop (at a 20%) discount. The title reduces to ordinary English just what orients the moral compass of a certain ‘BREED’ of people.

Fool’s Gold

‘This is about how Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe’

First point, this means, it is not only Banking in Ireland that is in disgrace. It means that we folllowed a trend so let’s stop the witch hunt, become decisive and utlilize the information and data we have access to for free to start us thinking (well said by the Panel on Pat Kenny last night-we need the Nobel aspirants, we need to start thinking) we have the tools to do so.
The articles in publications like the Financial Times provide us with parameters, comprehension, knowledge and understanding to form thoughts, views, and perspectives. Witch hunts are so easy and we know the outcomes.  Colm Tobin (author) spoke about these witch hunts in terms to sexual abuse in Wexford and he also went on to say that he desists from being part of them. I found this to be a most enlightening view.

The extract articles is on page 20 of the FT weekend.

Outline……

‘A young team at investment bank J P Morgan pioneered credit derivatives in the 1990s’. What this basically saying is that a Team at a bank produced a product for the market. ‘Some of these were classified as ”Super Senior” safer than the triple AAA Rating’ ……. which in effect is about Regulation.  Standard and Poors, Moody’s which we hear quoted daily in the media are supposed to keep us informed by ratings.

The Product sold……the team earned money…..competitive advantage applied…..banks followed banks……dealers followed dealers…..and clients made serious money……ie until one year….11th October, 2007, Moody’s cut its credit ratings on some $32 bn of mortgage backed bonds….then panic started……credit ratings were reduced……panic set in….

$20 bn mortgage backed bonds……no longer promised yields…. it changed to losses. You see the security is the property.

I ask the question who is in the driving seat.  A house in Wellington Road with a mews site (Dublin 4) in 1963 sold for £2,500 yet before the property crash a house sold for over £5 million without a mews.  30 years and what an increase in value?

Does this make sense? Can it be redressed? Well 1980’s England saw negative equity but time changed this with assets being switched to say other funds like gold, oil just to name two alternatives.

I think we need to read ……. and think and not panic……there must be a way out……..

Michelle Clarke


May 14th, 2009 22:56
Prime Time, Shame to the bankers, the Stock Exchange, the Regulators But Thanks to the Whistleblowers!

 by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity 

Do we nationalise the Banks? Do we establish NAMA? When you consider the millions paid for the Tribunals of Enquiries, to the legal staff – it is time to reflect and consider the options.

What costs can we envisage for NAMA and what predictable outcomes? We know from the Tribunals that placing inadequate terms of reference and boundaries, accelerates time scale and costs. This surely is a luxury we cannot afford.

We must acknowledge those who took on board the financial services system……those people like the investigative journalists, and in particular Simon Carswell, senators, and former exccutives of AIB like Mr. Soden, who identified the maladministration that is necessary for a system of checks and balances to work.

The Irish Stock Exchange appears toothless in its handling of the financial crisis. It fined AIB on two occasions for a breach of the Stock Exchange rules but apart from this, they appear to be unaware or just negligent of the duties imposed on the Stock Exchange. Whatever happened to the Stockbroker “gentleman” …… whom, one dealt with in a most professional way in days of yore….the motto ‘My Word is my Bond’ has disappeared with the onset of a globalisation culture and a loss of ethical practices. Then we have the Competition Authority, again toothless, sleepy, docile or just consumed by fear to address a Blue Chip monolith of power. The Central Bank, I recall them as efficient when I used to purchase US$ to pay for oil while I worked in the oil industry. This was back in the 1980’s but then interest rates and exchange rates were the mechanism the Central Bank used to control the Punt as it was.

Prime Time was excellent tonight. The ordinary person is left under no illusions about what happened. The over-investment by the Banks in commercial and other property. Mr. Soden, former Chief Executive made a sensible point. We as yet do not know whether the banks will be nationalised or NAMA/NTMA will be the vehicles used, but he suggested, it is important to establish values on properties. We need to price the one square foot at a VALUE.  Once this is done, you cost it. This will vary from City to City but it is an important benchmark.

It has also been suggested that a member from the European Central Bank ought to be assigned to NAMA……this is common sense, particularly when you consider the over reliance on property; a person from say the IMF, World Bank, ECB would bring considerable experience and knowledge to say NAMA/NTMA, if established.

The irony is as the Irish Revenue received funds from the fraudulent activities of tax evaders into the 1980’s/90’s into the coffers that in turn propped up the Balance Sheets to a positive stance, realistically the coffers were being stripped going forward, and now the irony is complete with the present financial scandals. Tax havens again have facilitated illegal transactions. Ireland needs to partner with Germany, France, the UK, who seek to restrict practices of investment in offshore accounts. They are also asking tax haven countries to release data on people who hold accounts.

Michelle Clarke

Gandhi
‘The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within’

I believe that if this is so, bankers and others who have forsaken a generation of people, ought to return bonuses, pensions in excess of what is acceptable to a fund……..’

 

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3 Responses to CITIZEN JOURNALISM: NAMA (2009): BBC Spotlight programme March 1st 2016 – Financial ruin in Ireland. What have we learned from history?

  1. Pingback: NAMA – 2009: FINANCIAL RUIN IN IRELAND: WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM OUR HISTORY? | canisgallicus

  2. michelleclarke2015 says:

    Reblogged this on canisgallicus.

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  3. Pingback: CITIZEN JOURNALISM: NAMA (2009): BBC Spotlight programme March 1st 2016 – Financial ruin in Ireland. What have we learned from history? | canisgallicus

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