Sunday 25 September 2016

PAC chairman to meet northern counterpart over €1.3bn Nama deal

Published 17/08/2015 | 02:30

PAC chairman John McGuinness TD and the chairman of the Northern Assembly's Finance Committee, Daithí McKay MLA, will meet in early September to explore pooling information on the so-called Project Eagle loan book
PAC chairman John McGuinness TD and the chairman of the Northern Assembly's Finance Committee, Daithí McKay MLA, will meet in early September to explore pooling information on the so-called Project Eagle loan book

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and his counterpart in the North are to meet next month to discuss a possible cross-border exchange of information on the controversial €1.3bn Nama deal.

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PAC chairman John McGuinness TD and the chairman of the Northern Assembly's Finance Committee, Daithí McKay MLA, will meet in early September to explore pooling information on the so-called Project Eagle loan book.

There is no legal mechanism to allow for a joint scrutiny into the explosive Nama allegations, but Mr McGuinness said last night that it makes sense that both committees should share information and see how they can co-operate.

"An awful lot can be achieved by both committees working together," he said.

It has not been agreed yet whether the meeting will take place in Dublin or Belfast, but Mr McGuiness said he would be happy to travel to Stormont.

"There has been correspondence between both committees in the last few weeks and it has been agreed to have an informal meeting in September to discuss the Nama issues and to see if we can find a common purpose," the Carlow/Kilkenny TD told the Irish Independent.

"There is no single cross -border entity that will allow us to explore this formally but I think it would be useful to work together. One possibility would be, when each committee has reported, to compare them and put them together.

"There is a need for a joint approach because of the accusations made by Mick Wallace," Mr McGuinness added.

Nama has been criticised for refusing to send officials to Stormont to give evidence to the northern assembly's finance committee.

The committee is investigating the claim by Mr Wallace that a Northern Ireland politician or party was reportedly set to gain by up to £7m as a result of the purchase of the 850-property Nama portfolio by US investment company Cerberus.

Nama chairman Frank Daly said that Nama was accountable to the PAC and not to Stormont and that any information he provided to the PAC would be available to the assembly committee through Oireachtas transcripts.

Mr McGuinness said the matter was of major political interest.

Irish Independent

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