Republic’s NAMA report further illustrates Assembly’s failure to investigate

Ulster Unionist Finance Spokesperson, Philip Smith MLA, has said the publication of a report in the Republic of Ireland into the NAMA property deal has demonstrated just how inadequate the Northern Ireland Assembly’s response has been.

Philip Smith MLA, who sits on Stormont’s Finance Committee, said:

“I welcome the publication of this report by the Republic’s Comptroller and Auditor General. The fact that it has already been met with a commitment from the Irish Government that they will be setting up an investigation into the sale of Project Eagle stands in stark contrast to the pitifully slow response from the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.

“What little credibility the Northern Ireland Assembly has left to investigate this matter is now rapidly draining away. The public distrust regarding the NAMA sale has been further compounded with the revelations surrounding Daithi McKay and those recently broadcast by BBC NI Spotlight.

“The Committee for Finance has still not resurrected their own inquiry, despite it being 6 months from the Committee inquiry being placed on ice, and the NCA/PSNI investigations are progressing at a sluggish pace. Now with the Republic commencing its investigation it is ironic that it is only the Northern Ireland Assembly that is not progressing its own investigation despite the impact on our political and business reputation.

“During the meeting of Wednesday’s Finance Committee, I asked whether there was even a will or desire amongst the members to proceed with an investigation with teeth, and the response I received suggested not.  

“If Stormont’s Finance Committee, influenced primarily by its DUP and Sinn Fein members, continues to procrastinate on this crucial issue then it’s time to take the investigation from it and ask the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee to take this forward.

“There is a massive requirement to build public and investor confidence following the revelations to date and the longer that the Assembly prevaricates the more damage is done.”

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