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Nama: The Musical has a certain ring to it - The Irish News
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Nama: The Musical has a certain ring to it

A few years ago Anglo: The Musical was staged in Dublin.

The hugely irreverent show featured large puppets of Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen and took pot shots at those involved in the former powerful bank which was effectively nationalised in 2008 at huge cost to the Irish taxpayer.

Written by Paul Howard, the creator of fictional Dublin 4 idiot Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, it had brilliant tunes including "Put A Zero On The End, He's A Friend" and “We Are Where We Are”.

By rights the show should have had a longer run, and possibly would have, had lawyers acting for some of the very people being lampooned in the musical not got involved.

Perhaps they were particularly annoyed by the tagline 'It only takes a few muppets to screw an entire country'.

The musical tackled the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger years, when bankers and property developers routinely drank hundred-euro cocktails and took private helicopters to the Galway Races.

Pre-2008, it was clear that a golden circle of people with extensive property interests were making a lot of money, mainly at the expense of the rest of us.

Now huge housing estates are lying empty, people who bought their homes at the height of the boom have had to sell up or are in negative equity, and hundreds of thousands of young people have been forced to emigrate.

After years of austerity, we could have been forgiven for thinking that the profligate days of the boom were behind us.

Everyone’s learned their lesson, we thought. Who did we think we were anyway? Sure don’t we all have to tighten our belts now and make the best of a bad job?

And then the Nama scandal emerged.

Independent TD Mick Wallace told the Dáil that £7 million from the knock-down sale of Nama’s portfolio in the north had been set aside in an Isle of Man bank account for an unnamed politician or political party.

Thanks to the tenacity of my colleagues, more revelations emerged about a potential golden circle at the heart of the deal.

And then Nama’s chief executive told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee that one of its advisors in the north, businessman Frank Cushnahan, had been in line to gain £5 million alone from the sale.

The money involved is eye-watering. By the end of last week it felt as though “Put A Zero On The End, He's A Friend” was starting to sound like the title of a current affairs documentary, rather than a musical satire.

More details are set to emerge, and most people will be particularly keen to know the identity of the politician or party referred to by Mr Wallace.

In time we’ll all be able to laugh about how people in power continue to thumb their noses at the taxpayer.

But why wait until then? Nama: The Musical has a certain ring to it. Featuring songs including "£7 Million (Just Resting in my Account)"; "Where Do I Sign?", and "Visit to the Isle of Man", the show is bound to a crowd-pleaser.

Laugh at the sight of wealthy men setting fire to hundred pound notes! Cry as they realise their yacht isn’t quite big enough! Gasp as senior Nama officials insist that the 850 properties involved were sold for exactly what they were worth!

Of course it would be quite difficult to stage Nama: The Musical in the middle of a live police investigation, a Law Society probe and an inquiry by the Republic’s Public Accounts Committee. But whether any of these probes will amount to anything is another matter.

Perhaps a fictional show could come closer to the truth than any lengthy inquiry.

It really only does take a few well-connected muppets to destroy all faith in our public servants and the people they appoint.


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