Wednesday 18 October 2017

More are planning to abandon Sinn Féin, warns ex-councillor

Daithí McKay. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Daithí McKay. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

A former Sinn Féin councillor who resigned from the party claiming unfair treatment of former Assembly member Daithí McKay has warned that more will follow.

Paul Maguire was one of 18 members who quit in North Antrim last month amid the fallout of Mr McKay's resignation as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).

Former DUP leader Peter Robinson. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Mr McKay quit after it was alleged he was involved in the "coaching" of loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson ahead of a Stormont committee looking at the Nama sale to US investment company Cerberus.

It was claimed this allowed Mr Bryson to allege DUP leader Peter Robinson was set to gain from the £1.2bn sale of Nama's Northern portfolio. Mr Robinson strongly denied these claims.

Mr Maguire told BBC's 'The View' programme: "From what I can hear... there will be more [resignations] to follow.

"I would find it impossible to think that Daithí McKay would or could be brought back into the party because of the way in which he was made resign.

Jamie Bryson. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Jamie Bryson. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

"I can't read Daithí McKay's mind. He resigned because he was made resign.

"There's an inquiry going on at the moment. I can't see that being a meaningful inquiry. I think it's just a box-ticking exercise."

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams told 'The View' it was "always a negative" when people left the party, and pledged to "engage with every single one".

Meanwhile, calls are mounting for a joint investigation team comprising the PSNI, An Garda Síochána and the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA).

A major issue surrounding the Project Eagle controversy has been the inability of parliaments to compel witnesses from overseas.

Investigations have been launched by the NCA, the US Department of Justice's Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as a parliamentary inquiry in Stormont.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MLA has called for a joint investigation team that will not be hampered by borders.

The SDLP will publish a draft bill to amend Westminster legislation to allow for joint North-South investigations.

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