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National Asset Management Authority

Volume 520: debated on Wednesday 15 December 2010

6. What assessment his Department has made of assets held by the Republic of Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (29915)

We are not in a position to make a detailed assessment of these assets. The Northern Ireland Executive are in touch with the authorities in Dublin and NAMA’s Northern Ireland Advisory Committee, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State raised Northern Ireland interests in relation to NAMA with the Taoiseach on Monday.

Given the difficulty NAMA is having in managing these assets and the Republic’s already over-indebted situation, would it not make sense for us to take some of those assets off its hands, as consideration for financial support we may give?

My hon. Friend will have an opportunity to make those and other points in the debate on the Loans to Ireland Bill—no doubt he will wish to take part in that. I think he should be proud of what we are doing, however. We are now part of the solution rather than the problem, and we believe it is right that we, as a country that has so much trade with the Republic of Ireland, should come to its support at this time, with no conditions.

The Minister has indicated that the Northern Ireland Office is not in a position to make an assessment. Does he believe that the Treasury is in a position to make an assessment, and has it done so?

That is a good question. My hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has said that discussions continue with the Government in Dublin about NAMA and the way forward, so they are clearly in regular discussions. Again, no doubt my hon. Friend will inform the House about that in the debate this afternoon, and discuss it with those who wish to take part in that debate.