Treasury Holdings. Regular readers of the Heritage Journal may be familiar with the name… Massive Irish property developers and partners, with the Drogheda Port Company, in the proposed deep-water port project at Bremore/Gormanston – the very same partnership that only recently decided to (maybe) reconsider the obliteration of an irreplaceable Neolithic passage tomb complex.

According to Joe Brennan (Irish Independent 14 April 2010), NAMA, the state agency that is taking over the bank-loans of Ireland’s ruined property sector, has given Treasury Holdings and the other nine top Irish developers; “up until early next month to come up with credible business plans or face the prospect of liquidation… these plans would be probed to see which developers could survive the downturn.”

No repayment at all, he notes, is being made on two-thirds of the NAMA-targeted bank-loans and interest that has been “rolled-up“ (there‘s a phrase – like a used carpet) , rather than charged, has accounted for as much as 12.5% to 15% of the first €16 billion to be taken over. Incredible. He quotes NAMA boss, Brendan McDonagh, as follows;

The situation was “all born of a mindless scramble to funnel lending into one sector at considerable pace and of a reckless abandonment of basic principles of credit risk and prudent lending.”

and NAMA now had the; “very difficult decision of perhaps knocking down certain developments…”      

The developments that they’re proposing to knock down were once green fields in the countryside, scarred now, for nothing and the money that is being used to ‘buy’ these loans from the banks, albeit at a substantial discount on original value, had to be borrowed by the taxpayer. That’s us; every Irish citizen and our kids after us if it doesn‘t work out.

It‘s impossible to grasp how we could owe such an amount, or how a staggering €81 billion could even have been leant from one bunch of idiots to another, no matter how greedy they were. Or how they were let get away with it – although that, of course, is ‘what friends are for’. This is just a fraction, by the way. NAMA’s only dealing with the really big boys.

We’re all idiots now.

What of Bremore?

Nothing has been built here, but it will surely be included in any Treasury business plan. There’s money to be made in the port development, even if it’s to be earned by sucking business from elsewhere and the state; NAMA, government, taxpayer and public opinion, will be heavily motivated to try and find something half-way viable amidst the rubbish of bad loans. Furthermore, the current version of a rain dance – for the Irish economy – does seem to be ‘export-led growth‘. I wouldn’t be too confident, in other words.

On the other hand, much of the perceived, pre-recession, stress on port capacity was caused by imports; cheap consumer goods and building materials, rather than exports. Maybe someone will see the bigger picture for once… We don’t need another port and not here. We certainly can’t afford it.