Thursday 23 February 2017

PAC's Project Eagle probe to invite both Robinson and McGuinness

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson
Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson

Former Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson will be invited to appear before TDs to be quizzed on Project Eagle.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is also to be asked to attend a meeting of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is probing the deal to sell Nama's Northern Ireland loan book.

Both Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness were participants in a January 2014 phone call with Finance Minister Michael Noonan in which the controversial deal was discussed.

The PAC's chairman, Fianna Fáil's Seán Fleming, also confirmed that the date that Mr Noonan has agreed to appear before committee members is October 6, just days before he unveils the Budget.

Mr Fleming outlined the agenda of PAC's examination of the Comptroller and Auditor General's (C&AG) damning report on Project Eagle.

The C&AG found that Nama incurred a potential loss to the taxpayer of £190m (€223m) in the Project Eagle sale.

Nama rejected the C&AG's findings, claiming an incorrect assumption of the discount rate used in the sale, and said the probe had been carried out by staff with no market experience of loan sales.

Mr Fleming said the C&AG will appear at the committee next Thursday, a week today, as will Nama chairman Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh.

"Also, we are going to invite people who were involved in the phone call with Minister Noonan in early January 2014," Mr Fleming announced.

He said this included both Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness and that the PAC intends to invite the current and former secretaries general of the Finance Department before further meetings.

Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald asked that Mr Noonan should be requested to make a further appearance if required.

Irish Independent

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