• McKillen stays off the rubbish heap

Fans of 80s TV will remember Canadian series Fraggle Rock, which featured a group of fluffy-haired creatures who, from time to time, were advised by Marjory the Trash Heap, a creature formed solely out of rubbish.

Marjory had some magical abilities to go with her advisory capacity and it does not take a huge leap to see some correlation between her and NAMA, Ireland’s toxic loan agency.

However, the Fraggles are revolting, led by Paddy McKillen, who has won his test case to stop Eu2.1bn of loans being transferred to the agency. The challenge was upheld because the decision to transfer the loans in December 2009 was made prior to the formation of the agency and therefore unanimously deemed not to be valid, by seven of the country’s top judges.

Frank Daly, NAMA chairman, warned other prospective challengers that the decision related "specifically to the particular case as presented by Mr McKillen and does not have implications for other acquisitions now completed by NAMA".

The agency needs to generate income through acquiring performing loans, in addition to attempting to sell assets, having so far acquired loans with a nominal value of Eu71bn.

What will happen now is not clear – NAMA may simply move to take the loans now that it is fully established, although McKillen has maintained that they were being serviced and had no place in the agency, an issue which the court has yet to address.

Having won this battle, McKillen’s next concern will be the growing interest around the distinctly un-rubbish Maybourne Hotel Group. He has said that he has no plans to sell his 37% stake, despite fellow Irish investor Derek Quinlan reported to be in talks with the Barclay brothers over his 35% holding.

NAMA may yet have a role to play in McKillen’s life, even if it steers clear of the contested loans. Quinlan was less successful in keeping his loans out of NAMA and, should he wish to sell to the Barclays, the agency will have a say.

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