On RTE radio this morning (on Today with Pat Kenny with, em, Myles Dungan) Fianna Fail TD Frank Fahey said:
I stand by what I said about NAMA from the very beginning. NAMA is being funded … the bonds are being funded by the European Central Bank.
Now I know that language is a flexible thing and perhaps philosophy graduates could spend all night debating what the meaning of “being funded” is. But, I would suggest that the only reasonable interpretation of this statement is that it implies NAMA are receiving funds from the ECB.
This is not at all true. The ECB has no direct relationship with NAMA at all. NAMA bonds can be used by the banks that have received them as collateral for loans from the ECB but that’s it, that’s the full extent of the ECB’s involvement in relation to NAMA. Furthermore, AIB and BoI executives told the Oireachtas last year that they had no particular plans to use the bonds in this fashion.
The NAMA bonds are fully backed by the Irish government. They are a liability of the Irish state, albeit one entered into at the same time that it acquired some property assets that may or may not yield enough to pay off the bonds.
It is long past time for government politicians to stop misleading the Irish public that NAMA somehow involves the state getting money from the ECB. I would plead with any journalist interviewing Deputy Fahey or any other commentator making this claim in the future to point out to them that it has no grounding in fact.