Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has called on NAMA to co-operate in full with the inquiry being held by the Finance committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly into allegations surrounding the sale of its €5.6bn loan book in the North.
Deputy McGrath said such cooperation should include NAMA officials attending the hearings at Stormont in a voluntary capacity and he called on the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to encourage NAMA to cooperate in this way.
“To date NAMA have suggested that, as it is not legally answerable to the Stormont Assembly, it will not require its staff to appear as witnesses before the committee’s hearing. While this is strictly true, it is not in keeping with the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement which envisaged closer co-operation and the development of an all-Ireland economy”, explained Deputy McGrath.
“The sale of NAMA’s Northern Ireland loan book was a very significant event for the economy in the North. Serious allegations have now emerged over the manner in which the sale took place. These must be thoroughly investigated. While there is an ongoing criminal investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in Northern Ireland, the inquiry by the Finance Committee can provide an important forum to shed light on this transaction.
“NAMA’s stated position currently is that it will “endeavour to provide answers” to written questions from the committee. However this falls well short of the level of co-operation which could be reasonably expected. I believe that senior NAMA personnel should, if requested, appear in person before the committee to provide whatever information they can. It would represent a partnership approach to an important economic and political issue affecting the whole island of Ireland. This is in the interests of both the citizens of the North and the Republic.”