Saturday 24 June 2017

Ex-SF man at centre of Nama storm is urged to reveal all

Daithi McKay. Pic Tom Burke
Daithi McKay. Pic Tom Burke

Suzanne Breen

Former Sinn Féin MLAs have urged Daithí McKay to tell all he knows about the Nama coaching controversy.

The ex-party representatives said they believed he had been turned into "a sacrificial lamb" to protect figures higher up in Sinn Féin. And they urged him to speak out in order to defend his own reputation.

The former MLAs said Sinn Féin would be "reeling" from the resignation of 18 members in North Antrim this week, which they claimed represented a challenge to the "control and censorship" the party traditionally exerts on its grassroots.

Those who resigned include Paul Maguire, one of three Sinn Féin councillors on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

They said they had quit in protest at how Mr McKay had been forced to step down as North Antrim MLA in the wake of the controversy.

They also protested against the co-option of Philip McGuigan to fill the Assembly seat.

Ex-Newry and Armagh MLA Davy Hyland said that following such a strong show of local support for him, Mr McKay should speak out. "For the sake of his own credibility and personal worth, Daithí McKay should come clean with all he knows about the Nama coaching controversy," he said.

"He needs to name the names and tell his side of the story. I don't for one second entertain the idea that he decided, on his own, to school Jamie Bryson. That isn't how Sinn Féin works."

Former Newry and Armagh MLA Pat McNamee expressed shock at the mass resignation.

Read more: Eighteen members of SF quit party over McKay replacement

"It shows that the leadership haven't the control they once had and that some members aren't frightened to strike out on their own," he said.

Mr McNamee claimed that Sinn Féin had wanted the Nama coaching controversy closed quickly.

In a statement the party said it was "disappointed at the decision of individuals in North Antrim to resign from the party".

It added: "Daithí McKay acknowledged that his contact with loyalist Jamie Bryson was inappropriate and wrong."

Sinn Fein insisted it had ­consulted with its activists in North Antrim before Mr ­McGuigan's co-option.

Irish Independent

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