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30 March, the Irish government launches the biggest financial gamble ever undertaken by the state, leads the Irish Examiner. First mooted in 2009, the state-run National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is to begin buying up toxic loans doled out by the Irish banking sector to property development schemes that went belly up at the onset of the economic crisis in 2007. The estimated total cost of the bank rescue plan is in the region of €27 billion, making the Irish state, underwritten by the taxpayer, the biggest property owner in the world. Finance minister Brian Lenihan said his move “will be the last throw of the dice”, the Cork daily reports. The government is counting on an eventual economic recovery, at which point it hopes to recuperate some or all of the value of the debts it has incurred. “Today is the most significant day in this country’s economic history”, laments an Irish Times columnist. “And we have sleepwalked into it with our eyes wide open.”