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22 October 2009 Edition

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NAMA - Sinn Féin amendments seek bailout for low and average income homeowners

THIS WEEK sees the debate on the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) Bill reach Committee stage in the Dáil. Sinn Féin will do all in it’s power to stop the passage of the disastrous piece of legislation.
NAMA will see Irish workers on low wages, the unemployed and those dependent on social welfare thrown overboard to make room in the lifeboat for an elite of bankers and developers whose greed has brought the 26 County state to the brink of bankruptcy.
Sinn Féin will not stand for this criminal recklessness. The Irish public won’t stand for it.
The only correct response to the current banking crisis is the nationalisation of those banks of systemic importance.
Amendments to the NAMA Bill which Sinn Féin has brought forward seek to ensure that the interests of ordinary people are addressed in as much as is possible given the fundamentally flawed nature of the NAMA proposal.
Sinn Féin is proposing that the benefits of NAMA be extended to homeowners on low and average incomes, particularly those who are in negative equity. Unlike the bankers and developers these people do deserve a bailout. Recognising that inflated house prices were a result of collusion between bankers, developers and the government, Sinn Féin is proposing that banks availing of NAMA be obliged to:
•    Write off the difference between the purchase price of the dwelling and its current market value for those households with mortgages taken out on primary residences since 2004 up €500,000.
•    Permit customers whose mortgage is on their primary residence to move from fixed interest to variable interest rates without incurring a financial penalty.
•    Make provision to facilitate those who are financially excluded including the provision of basic banks accounts (simple low cost no frills current accounts) as a right and through the provision of banking services in rural towns and disadvantaged urban areas.
•    Reducing the mortgage repayment burden for those on low and average incomes by addressing the issue of negative equity for these householders will have a stimulating impact on the economy and will lead to an increase in consumer spending.

Sinn Féin is also proposing:
•    Caps on the salaries of those who will work for NAMA.
•    Caps on salaries for executives working in the banks availing of NAMA.
•    Protection for those who whistle blow on bad and corrupt banking practices in the public interest.
•    Priority be given to using land acquired under NAMA to meet public needs including the delivery of schools, community facilities and social housing.

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