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A hard NAMA is going to fall??

October 11th, 2010 ·



Mary Robinson’s vision in her speech at Beal na Blath,

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into our present mess is because we as a society have no clear vision of where we want to be and if we don’t articulate that vision that even if we can get ourselves out of this mess we will fall back into a bigger one in the future. I agree with her, we cannot talk about NAMA and the cutbacks proposed by the McCarthy report without learning the lessons of the past twenty years and without articulating the social vision for the future. Mary Robinson is correct when she said that our future is too precious to be allowed to fall into the hands of the economists, who to paraphrase Oscar Wilde ‘know the price of everything in the property market place and the value of nothing in society’. That vision must be imbued with values that contain fairness, equality and a State that puts the needs of people, its citizens, above the greed of developers and bankers. In north Dublin city over the past 30 years the local community leadership has always driven to put people at the centre of development not property, the epiphany of this was of course the now famous Gregory Deal, which sought to address the neglect and social ills of the inner city through both social and economic measures. It was the first integrated attempt to solve what is known as the ‘inner city problem’. In the almost 30 years since that document was accepted by the then government as urban policy and its quick abandonment by a new government in the same year the major lessons of urban development based upon social and economic sustainability have not been learned. We have always adopted the motto People before Profit and we opposed what we called at the time the Zoeification of the city through the development of apartment blocks which gated communities, which were family unfriendly which paid no respect to the already existing culture and environment.

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Outsiders thought the community activists were mad to oppose dockland development. But we did oppose the development of the docks we opposed the manner of its redevelopment. We opposed a redevelopment of the docks based on profit, greed and an unholy alliance of bankers and speculators. We said that the rise of high density approach was unsustainable and called for a more people centred approach to dockland’s redevelopment. You cannot measure the prosperity of a nation by counting the number of cranes there are in the skyline but rather by counting the number of people who are treated fairly and who can access the wealth of society thru income education and health services.

What has happened to the docklands has become a microcosm of what’s happening in the rest of the country. We are left in the docklands with the ugly symbol of all that was wrong with the economic of unregulated capitalism, the rotting hulk of the unfinished building which was to become the headquarters of the speculators bank. Why not leave it there as a warning to future generations as to what happens if the banks the speculators and the corrupt politicians get cosy with each other. At least in the dockland the indigenous communities have survived, the whirlwind of economic madness but around the country where the same economic model was adopted there are unfinished estates on the outskirts of our historic villages and sadly there are young couples who bought houses in unfinished estates who languish now with heavy mortgages and in negative equity. They must become part of the rescue package as should all those families and people who bought houses not as investment but as homes. This is what galls the Irish people. NAMA is not a rescue package for the people who have suffered because of the squandering and misdeeds of the banks but for these very same Banks! Misbehave and you will be

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rewarded be a good citizen obey the laws go to work buy a house for you family and you will be abandoned. And what is most puzzling for most Irish people who may not be up to the obscurities of high economic but who know a pig in a poke when they see one is this:

online casino The Kenny Report

The present crisis was largely caused by speculation in the price of land. When Ireland

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stared to come out of protectionism it was through the rezoning of land for housing Industry and commerce the money started to be made. Very quickly the price of land was way beyond its actual value. The infamous golden circle was set in motion the politicians re zoned the banks lend money to the speculators and the developers took over. The fact the speculators were sometimes the hidden partners of the speculators only lead to the corruption that the various tribunals are trying to unravel. The solution to this quagmire was in the Kenny report of the early seventies. It simply wanted to control the price of land so that any wealth created in

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the country would be real and sustainable and not as a result, speculation based on borrowings. Of course the ruling politicians did not implement the Kenny report because the class they represented were the beneficiaries of both unregulated land prices and unregulated banks. The reason we sit in the chamber debating NAMA today is because the Kenny report was never implemented and yet on what is NAMA predicated? That the lands which were bought by developers at excessively high prices and whose price has now collapsed will in some future time go up in price again and thus setting in motion the exact cycle which has brought to the point of economic and social catastrophe.

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Nationalise the Banks

The economic and policies which has brought us to this calamity will not get us out of it. It is for this reason that I believe that we should nationalise the banks and in so doing so not take responsibility for the toxic loans but allow for the flow of money back into the economy without the tax payer having to risk paying for the blunders of the banks and the sins of the speculators. If we are going to take the risk we might as well reap the economic benefit. A nationalised bank would also ensure a return to liquidity and ensure a bank that would act in the public interest. We should also consider expropriating the lands and property of those developers who will clearly default

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and thus create a land bank which can be used in the public good for future good. In doing this we should also implement the Kenny report and begin a building programme to repair the damage done by the reckless planning of the last ten years. This national bank should let a flow of money back into the economy as has been done in America, France and Germany. This nationalised bank should also help fulfil the dreams of people in such areas as O’Devaney Gardens, St Michaels Estate, Dominick Street and Croke Villas whose lives were shattered by the collapse the developers who were participating in Public Private Partnerships. If we can bail out the banks why not bail out the lives of those who got no benefit from the years of the Celtic Tiger

The Community Sector

It is with such a vision of a responsibly functioning bank system with a social remit that we should also judge the McCarthy report. The upcoming budget should help reinforce such a vision and not do any further damage to our

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education, health, community and social services. The McCarthy report for instance proposes to abolish completely the community development programme and the local area development programme. In a most dismissive and arrogant phrase to probably ever have been used in the field of social policy states that these programmes have shown no evidence of positive outcomes. This is an insult to the thousands of people who have

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struggled to ensure that their communities have decent services and equal opportunities to those who are better off. If Mr McCarthy wants to know how the community sector works let him ask the Minister for the Environment John Gormley at his eulogy to the late Tony Gregory, Mr Gormely fondly recalled his time on

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a scheme with a local community development project in the north inner city. He was in an era of high unemployment and of low opportunity for advancement he worked with people of low educational attainment and so for a while he was part of a community development project whose aim was to ensure that the benefits of society reached equally into all its corners. Baclofen reduces frequency of muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. Buy baclofen online.

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The community development programme and the local area development programme are needed now more than ever, these programmes will provide cohesion in areas threatened with disintegration because of high levels of unemployment. They will provide activities and services for people whose lives are tragically turning grimmer and grimmer by the day. People are flabbergasted that while giving billions to the banks, the government might consider abolishing a vibrant programme of community development which requires a fraction of that amount to continue.


In conclusion, in getting out of the present economic climate we must not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must not collapse those services that have taken years to build up and if collapsed we take an awful lot more resources to build up again. Our health system is an example here it has never recovered from the cuts of the 80’s. Mary Robinson is right we must articulate our vision of a society and we stand for a society where need triumphs over profit and greed.

The issue for the State is to recognise social capital and its value. Social capital is the sum total of achievements that people have gained against all odds.

Mick Rafferty

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