Almost 40 of the politicians who will vote on the critical Nama legislation designed to clean up the banks' toxic loans to property developers have extensive property interests both here and abroad themselves.
The current register of interests, in which politicians are legally obliged to reveal any outside commercial interests, shows that, excluding the hundreds of acres of farmland owned by politicians,
38 TDs and senators have substantial development land and commercial property holdings.
These range from the relatively modest three properties held by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, including one in Leeds, to Fine Gael's Alan Shatter, who lists joint ownership with an "other" of 14 investment properties in Dublin, London and Florida.
Of the 38 politicians, 17 could be considered to have significant interests which, during the property boom, would have provided a comfortable income on their own.
Politicians must list all interests held outside politics but they are not obliged to reveal their value. While the politicians' property portfolios are unlikely to be worth anything near the billions in toxic debts owed by the likes of developer Liam Carroll, in many cases they are significant enough to raise questions about a conflict of interest about Nama.
Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness, who lost his job as junior minister in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment last year – and who lists interests in warehouses, apartments and hotels – said politicians first and foremost are legislators.
"Politicians' property dealings are declared up front on the register of interest," said the Kilkenny TD, who confirmed his ownership interest in Rolestown House hotel, a holding company behind Kettles Country House hotel in north Dublin, which has just come out of examinership.
But McGuinness is in the ha'penny place compared to the likes of Galway TD Frank Fahey, who lists 18 separate property portfolios, most of which are in or around Galway. The Fianna Fáil TD also lists 15 apartments in Brussels, as well as houses in Dubai, Portugal, Massachusetts and France.
On top of his extensive bloodstock interest, Fine Gael's Seán Barret is a director of property company Balbrag Ltd and also holds shares in Cabinteely Property Holdings. The Dún Laoghaire TD also lists shares in a Jersey-based company Richmond Care Villages.
Opposition spokesman on health Fine Gael's Dr James Reilly declares a commercial interest in Lusk Town Centre in north Dublin. As well as accommodating a surgery, the centre houses a supermarket, offices, a bookmaker's, a gym, a restaurant and some apartments. Reilly also declares a quarter-share interest in Green Hills nursing home in Tipperary and a 1.3-acre commercial site in Swords for a one-stop-shop medical centre.
Independent TD Michael Lowry, who is the subject of scrutiny at the Moriarty tribunal, has a 10% interest in a 2.5-acre site in Mansfield in England and a 50% interest in Vineacre Ltd, a property company in Bedfordshire.
Dublin Central TD Sean Haughey, on top of a lengthy list of shareholdings, lists ownership of a 4.3-acre site in County Wexford, an "undeveloped site for mobile homes".
Outspoken Cork TD Noel O'Flynn lists part-ownership of business units in Mallow and commercial units in Dublin.
Fine Gael's Frank Feighan owns properties in Sligo and also has property interests in France, Bulgaria and Hungary. He also has an interest in a Sikh restaurant in Boyle.
In the Seanad, Fianna Fáil's Jim Walsh declares an interest in 30 acres of development land in Rathfarnham in Dublin. His colleague, Francis O'Brien, has an interest in an impressive 10 parcels of development land in Cavan, Monaghan and Mayo, as well as around half-a-dozen properties which are rented out.
Frank Fahey (FF) - 30 properties in Ireland, Brussels, Dubai, France and Portugal
Jim Walsh (FF) - Shares in Irish, UK and Dutch property funds; director of property firms in Wexford; 30 acres development land in south Dublin
Francis O'Brien (FF) - Ten separate parcels of development land; six properties
Frank Feighan (FG) - 15 properties in Ireland, Hungary, France, Bulgaria
Alan Shatter (FG) - 14 properties in Ireland and US
Errr... just wondering how the top list was compiled given that Senator Ivor Callely missed out but from what I recall had dozens of properties around north Dublin city.
Since when has there not been a conflict of interest with politicians in public life. People make me laugh. Politics in Ireland was always skewed with self serving interests. There has always been a culture of the nod and wink and who you know and not what you know. Its always been, and it always will be. I had a naive hope that there would be a cathartic clearing out of the old Ireland with the tribunals, Sex abuse reports etc. Naive I was. Its a banana republic. In a few yrs time they will be reporting on Prime time the shenanigans that will go on with the Nama properties. The builders left standing ( buddies from the fianna fail tent ) will get the nod and the wink from the boys involved with nama to buy state subsidised lands and properties at knock down prices. Just wait and see, I can see the scandals from Nama coming like a slow moving train.
Says it all about the Irish political system. Our rulers haven't been doing all those political favours for, or bestowing corporate welfare on, their friends and their networks in building and development: they literally are them!
Just as most of those media economists preaching to us these past decades have worked for banks.
When will we stop this class taking us for a ride?
Good morning Vietnama. This is the bankers and the developers etc war on you Paddy the Irish sheepel. And the winner will be, yes as usual the PAIFA . Before all this is over the Codfathers will be on the roof of Leinster house fighting to get on the doorless choppers with bags of paddies cash which they will split later. They will slap each other on the back drunk with happiness and high as kites on how easy it was to screw da Paddy again. Poor old Paddy will you ever learn boy. Have ye any guts ??? O I see yere afraid the neighbours might see yere name in the paper. Ashamed of yere life are ye. Or the real truth yere just a bunch of yellow bellied cowards. No guts no glory boyos. Well enjoy the Vietnama war which ye have lost already. Last one out turn off the lights. Full moon tonight here in beautiful down town Chicago and the freedom is? well ye namabots will never know.. And vote yes to Lisbon, sure ye might as well get screwed by the Eurocrats too yippie
Antony - Spot on. Taken for fools all the time. How long do we have to take the abuse and punishment dishewd out by this shower. For God's sake people wake up an smell the coffee and vote next election to get rid of these tyrants
Ha HA what a joke these guys are a bunch of wasters, do they want to be politicians or property investors ?I wish they would make up their minds hopefully the people will get rid of all of them at the next election and we can get some real politicians to run the country, where ever they will come from I dont know, but the current lot are a cosy cartel of eye winkers and back scratchers with only their best interests at heart.
Is it any wonder that there was so little enthusiasm amongst the main politicial parties for highlighting the concerns that the ESRI and other bodies expressed about Irelands overdependence on the development and construction sector over the years ?
Add to this list the number of politicians, including Ministers, who regarded permanent teaching positions as assets, similiar to property, to be held on to and the number of ' capitialists' in the Dail is even bigger.
What else do you expect from the great NAMA taxpayers cash, heist- The burglars are in charge of the bank.!!
I understand there is a protest march organized on 12th September so lets put our feet where our mouths are.
We are in this mess because we put the interests of speculators before the people. How can we expect our interests to take precedence in the 'recovery' effort when vested interests are so compromised in the engineers of that recovery?
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clear conflict of interest. We are being taken for fools. The stench in irish politics needs to be cleaned out. We need to become more vocal and demand some changes...