Nama failing to look after historic buildings in its portfolio, says RHA
The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) has strongly criticised the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) for failing to take steps to protect historic buildings owned by developers whose multi-million euro loans have ended up in the State’s “bad bank”. A statement – signed by its president, architect Des McMahon, four former presidents, 23 members of the academy and five associates – described this “conduct of omission as in itself an act of vandalism . . . totally inappropriate in this day and age”.
The signatories include some of Ireland’s leading artists – painters Pauline Bewick, James Hanley, Eithne Jordan, Brett McEntagart and Patrick Pye; and sculptors Rachel Joynt, Carolyn Mulholland, Áilis O’Connell, Vivienne Roche and Imogen Stuart. They said they were “extremely alarmed at the continued deterioration of our architectural stock of historic and conservation merit”, such as the former Hume Street Hospital, which adjoins the RHA gallery at Ely Place, recently stripped by thieves.
The artists accused Nama of “not taking its legal responsibility seriously in regard to appropriate protection of several historic buildings currently under their ownership” and said its “response to our approaches to them . . . has been evasive and ambiguous”. Nama sent a letter to the secretary of the RHA “not admitting that they owned such properties and not making any commitment to safeguarding them”, according to Mr McMahon, who was chief architect for the GAA’s acclaimed redevelopment of Croke Park.