SINN Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has said the party’s Northern Ireland Finance Minister Martin Ó Muilleoir will have to resign from the party if it is found he is involved in the Nama witness coaching controversy.
Mr Ó Muilleoir is under pressure to step aside for the duration of an investigation into claims Sinn Féin MLA Daihtí McKay sought to interfere with witness testimony before a committee hearing on the 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.
Speaking outside Leinster House, Mr Doherty said Ó Muilleoir will “of course” have to resign if he is implicated in the scandal.
However, he said he will be “shocked” if it emerges the minister is found to have been involved in the plot to allege former First Minister Peter Robinson benefited from the Project Eagle sale.
“Martin 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 had and the rest of his party had no knowledge of the correspondence.
“I am the finance spokesperson but I would imagine if this was something known within Sinn Fein I would know,” he said.
“Daithí McKay acted alone, he has made that clear and he has suffered the consequences for that and it was the wrong thing for him to do at that time but he has done the right thing in stepping aside,” he added