Saturday 3 December 2016

Ó Muilleoir must resign if he had part in witness plot, says Doherty

Published 26/08/2016 | 02:30

Northern Ireland's finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has said the party's Northern Ireland Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir will have to resign from the party if it is found he is involved in the Nama witness coaching controversy.

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Mr Ó Muilleoir is under pressure to step aside for the duration of an investigation into claims Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay sought to interfere with witness testimony before a committee hearing on the sale of Nama's Project Eagle loan book.

Mr McKay resigned almost immediately after it emerged he had been sending messages, through a third party on Twitter, to loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson before his committee appearance.

Mr Ó Muilleoir has denied any knowledge of the correspondence.

Implicated

Speaking outside Leinster House, Mr Doherty said Mr Ó Muilleoir would "of course" have to resign if he was implicated in the scandal.

However, he said he would be "shocked" if it emerged the minister was found to have been involved in the plot to allege former First Minister Peter Robinson benefited from the Project Eagle sale.

"Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has made a very robust defence and welcomes any investigation into that because his opponents who are using this as a political football will have to come up with the hard evidence rather than innuendo," Mr Doherty said.

He also insisted Mr McKay acted alone in contacting Mr Bryson and said he and the party had no knowledge of the correspondence.

"I am the finance spokesperson but I would imagine if this was something known within Sinn Féin, I would know," he said.

"Daithí McKay acted alone; he has made that clear and he has suffered the consequences."

Irish Independent

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