Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne has called on Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams to respond to this morning’s revelation that his colleague Martin McGuinness MLA attended a secret meeting with the Chairman of the investment company at the centre of the emerging controversy in Northern Ireland, less than six months after the £1.5 Billion stg sale.
The revelations, contained in this morning’s Irish News, claim that both First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness met with Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle to discuss the Cerberus deal, without making other party leaders or the northern media aware of the meetings.
Senator Byrne commented, “As each day passes, further information and further claims emerge about this deal and the circumstances surrounding it. This morning, we learned that there were secret meetings between the two most senior politicians in Northern Ireland and the Chairman of the company at the centre of the deal.
“Yesterday, Deputy Gerry Adams was forthright in this contribution to the Dáil, properly demanding answers and greater clarity about what happened here. But it now transpires that his very senior colleague Martin McGuinness was actually meeting privately with the person at the top of Cerberus less than six months after the deal.
“Deputy Adams made no reference to Sinn Féin’s meeting with the Chairman of Cerberus while making his remarks. The obvious first question arising is whether he was aware of the meeting and if so, why it was not disclosed.
“The next and more serious question is what was discussed at this meeting. At that time, it now appears clear that serious concerns were emerging at a senior business and political level in the North about the process. What was known about the problems around the departure of PIMCO from the bidding process and questions arising from their claims to NAMA? Did Deputy First Minister McGuinness raise these issues? Did he seek assurances from the Cerberus Chairman about how his company managed its bid? Was there any other contact between Sinn Féin and Cerberus before or after that meeting?
“Sinn Féin needs to account for this secret meeting and Gerry Adams needs to account for his failure to mention it yesterday while demanding transparency from others.”