Saturday 10 December 2016

Peter Robinson to be invited to appear before TDs to be quizzed on Project Eagle

Published 21/09/2016 | 18:14

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

FORMER Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson is to be invited to appear before TDs to be quizzed on Project Eagle.

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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 where the controversial deal was discussed.

PAC 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 announces the Budget.

Mr Fleming this afternoon 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 it’s based on an incorrect assumption of the discount rate used in the sale and that the probe was carried out by staff with no market experience of loan sales.

Mr Fleming said that the C&AG will appear at the committee on Thursday September 29, as will Nama chairman Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh.

Mr Noonan will appear the following week.

“Also we are going to invite people who are involved in the phone call with Minister Noonan in early January 2014,” Mr Fleming announced. He said this included Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness.

He said that the PAC intend 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 be requested to make a further appearance if required.

She said that Nama officials should be told that there appearance next week may not be a “one-off”.

“It’s their first appearance and we’re now engaged in what will be an extensive examination of the C&AG report,” added said. 

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