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The NAMA advisors who work for free cost €23,000 last year

Hotels, travel and subsistence cost meant that the NAMA advisory group, which works pro-bono, cost thousands of euro last year.

Michael Geoghegan
Michael Geoghegan
Image: Vincent Yu/AP/Press Association Images

MEMBERS OF THE National Asset Management Agency’s advisory group ran up a €23,000 tab for hotel, travel and subsistence costs last year, according to recently-released figures.

The figures were disclosed in a parliamentary question answered by Finance Minister Michael Noonan last week. He has also revealed that he has met with the group five times since it was set up in 2012.

The Minister said the Department of Finance budgeted for costs in the region of €40,000 which means the group, which works on a pro-bono basis, came in under budget.

The advisory group was set up last year to advise the Minister on NAMA’s strategy and capacity to deliver its aim of disposing of the significant amount of property loans it acquired during the financial crisis.

The state’s so-called bad-bank acquired €75 billion of bad property loans from banks in an attempt to eventually sell them off and recoup some of the money that was put into the banks to prevent their collapse in 2008.

The advisory group is chaired by former HSBC boss Michael Geoghegan with current NAMA chairman Frank Daly and businessman Denis Rooney also serving on the group.

Noonan met with the group, which operates on an informal basis and reports directly to him, on four occasions last year and once so far this year.

“The group’s advice to me primarily relates to the strategy of NAMA as proposed by the board of NAMA; the remuneration of the senior executives of NAMA and any further advice that I may seek on any matter relating to NAMA,” Noonan said.

He said that any issue raised by the  group is discussed with senior officials in the Department of Finance and said that he was satisfied that the group is working effectively.

Noonan added: “However it is important to note that this group is not a shadow Board nor is it intended to provide a route for me as Minister to get involved in the day to day running of the Agency.”

Read: No more consultations on salary waivers for NAMA/NTMA staff on over €200k

Read: NTMA paid PR company €630,000 to “keep taxpayers in the dark”

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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