NAMA proposal must have real teeth

15 September 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD has said that the Government’s proposal to repurpose NAMA which she put forward in Summer 2016 must be transformational, with real teeth to deliver, and not just another funding vehicle for developers. Following sustained market failure to deliver new builds, the State must now take a leading role in the development of affordable housing, and the long term financing of social housing through local authorities.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“In Summer 2016, I proposed broadening NAMA’s remit to provide social and affordable housing, and rebrand the agency as the National Housing Development and Finance Agency.

“Under Labour’s proposal, the focus of NAMA would become one of addressing the serious shortage in supply of residential accommodation for sale or for rent at affordable prices. It would also give NAMA the power to give financial assistance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing. We are glad to see the Government and Fianna Fáil are now taking up this idea over a year on.

“As we argued at the time, this would provide a framework for the construction of social and affordable homes through NAMA’s remaining land banks. It would also have allowed the State to tap into the existing expertise and resources already in place at NAMA, and negate the need for the setting up of a new quango to deal with the housing crisis.

“As other parties now come around to our thinking on refocusing NAMA for the provision of housing, the crisis in the sector has worsened.

“What we now need to see from Government is a sense of urgency about ensuring social houses are built, and a national scheme that ensures homes that are built are affordable.

“If NAMA is repurposed, it cannot simply be another vehicle to provide finance to developers, but must have real teeth to intervene in the market and deliver housing developments.

“There is also an opportunity to provide long term, low cost finance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing, through a repurposed NAMA and HFA that could leverage the €5.3 billion available in the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.”

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