Sunday 21 January 2018

Outrage over developer Ronan’s Nazi jibe at Nama

US watchdog called in over Project Eagle corruption claims

The words ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ on the gates of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland
The words ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ on the gates of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland
Johnny Ronan

Kevin Doyle and Rachel Lavin

A German phrase which is widely associated with Nazi concentration camps will not be redacted from Celtic Tiger developer Johnny Ronan's statement to the Banking Inquiry.

The businessman caused outrage in the Jewish community by signing off his submission with "Arbeit Macht Frei", which translates as "work sets you free".

It was published on the Oireachtas website yesterday - and sources told the Irish Independent that Mr Ronan's submission will not be censored.

Former justice minister Alan Shatter, who is Jewish, led calls for the phrase to removed from online and for Mr Ronan to withdraw the remark.

Mr Shatter said it was beyond his comprehension that the "notorious and diabolically misleading" phrase which hung at the entrance to concentration camps, including Auschwitz, was published by the Oireachtas.

In his statement, Mr Ronan also said that he felt his companies had worked hard but ultimately Nama had destroyed them.

Separately, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stepped up its scrutiny of the controversial sale of Nama's northern loan portfolio.

Belfast businessman Gareth Graham has travelled to the US to meet SEC officials after making corruption allegations to the financial watchdog, the Irish Independent understands.

The move came as Independent TD Mick Wallace made further allegations of corrupt payments linked to the Project Eagle deal.

Mr Wallace used Dáil privilege to claim a total of Stg£45m (€61m) had been "paid to fixers" - in addition to Stg£7m (€9.5m) in an Isle of Man account which Mr Wallace alleged was destined for a Northern politician or party.

Irish Independent

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