Apparently Gerry Adams was in serene form in the ‘distinguished visitors gallery’ (H/T Suzy), whilst all on the floor of the Dail was mayhem during today’s Nama debate… eventually leading to Sinn Fein TD Arthur Morgan being bounced from the chamber ‘for being bold’… by An Ceann Comhairle… Miriam Lord clocked the (agit prop) barrack busting episode from the press gallery (erm, just three minutes into session):
Step forward, Arthur Morgan, and take a bow.
He chose this occasion to pull what Labours Eamon Gilmore labelled a parliamentary stunt. With Lenihan ready to deliver the results of his Governments exhaustive, bottom-up process of finalising the Nama legislation, and the Opposition ready to engage in meaningful discussion, Deputy Morgan decided to engage in a bottom-up exercise of his own. Under the guise of a point of order, Arthur called on the Taoiseach to apologise to the people of Ireland for lying about the property bubble, and called on the Government to apologise for robbing the taxpayers.
To howls of frustration from deputies on all sides, and wails of protest from the poor beleaguered Bull in the chair, Arthur refused to shut up. Perhaps the fact that his party leader, Gerry Adams, was beaming down from the visitors gallery had something to do with his outburst.
Twice, the House was suspended. This was not the sort of attention needed by John ODonoghue (On the plus side though, it might have given The Bull a chance to take in a couple of horse races on the telly.) Following protracted negotiations with the Superintendent of the House and the Captain of the Guard, bolstered in the closing moments by the arrival of Big Martin, the beefiest of Dáil ushers, Arthur finally stopped playing to the disgusted gallery.
Following discussion with my colleagues, we have decided that I will withdraw, he said huffily, before taking his leave. Gerry hopped out of the gallery ahead of him and the two exited together.
The incident provided the days only example of cross-party unity, when Government deputies applauded Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore after they called on Arthur to cop himself on.
After which the Dail got down the real business of the day… announcing the
bonus discount being made available on the distressed assets of the banks that were promised cover by that guarantee scheme cooked up in the dying days of last September…
In a nutshell, 77 billion of distressed assets Biffo, Bertie, The Bull, Cabinet and backbenchers not included are to be bought at a 30 per cent discount.
According the Irish Times’ simple guide to Nama, 47% is the average fall in property prices assumed by the Governments Nama calculations. That would appear to be substantially above the level of those ‘extreme case’ precedents cited by Morgan Kelly “that real prices of residential and commercial property would return to their levels of the mid-to-late 1990s, two thirds below peak values.”
Hmmm… this one is going to roll and roll…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty