Thursday 29 September 2016

Ring and O'Rourke fight public battle over Nama

Published 05/07/2015 | 02:30

Michael Ring
Michael Ring

Sports minister Michael Ring and Sunday Game analyst Colm O'Rourke have become embroiled in a bitter and personalised war of words.

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It began when Sunday Independent columnist O'Rourke wrote a trenchant column in which he criticised the minister for his alleged failure to intervene in the sale by Nama-appointed receivers of the Spawell complex in south Dublin.

O'Rourke slated Ring's performance, saying he should have acted to ensure the lands were sold to the GAA in fulfilment of Nama's duty to contribute to the public good while still delivering the best return for the taxpayer.

In response, the minister then penned a rebuttal to the editor for publication in the letters pages of this newspaper, which included what might be considered a deeply personal jibe about Mr O'Rourke. He then followed up that tart response with a further tirade yesterday: "I went into Nama this week and I asked a straight question. 'Was Nama selling this and why couldn't they give it over for the public good?'

"I was told quite clearly it was the receiver selling it and a receiver had been sued already for not getting the best price. I'm not a nasty guy but I thought his [O'Rourke's] article was just nasty."

Mr Ring added: "It was absolutely outrageous. He may think I'm a joke, but I'm no joke. I've done a very good job in sport.

"I didn't like the way that he just rubbished me last week. I'm not rubbish - some journalists might think I am, but I'm not rubbish. I've worked very hard at this job. I've got three sports capital programmes up and running."

Colm O'Rourke responded: "It is quite amazing how prickly the minister and Nama are when some facts about their operations come to light. The minister's reply, save for a low personal jibe which is unbecoming, adds nothing to the concerns I have raised over two Sundays.

"The best assets of the State have been sold off in such large parcels that Irish people could not compete, and these best assets have almost all been handed to foreign hedge funds. In turn, these funds have already sold on some of the properties and have made millions in profit."

Sunday Independent

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