Irish Republican News · August 18, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Sinn Fein Assembly member quits over NAMA testimony
Sinn Fein Assembly member quits over NAMA testimony

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Sinn Fein’s Daithi McKay has resigned his Assembly seat following allegations of “collusion” with a loyalist blogger in his claims that former DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson personally gained from a sale managed by NAMA, the bank run by the 26 County state to manage distressed property assets.

It was claimed on Thursday that loyalist blogger and flags protester Jamie Bryson was “coached” with the assistance of Mr McKay, then chair of the finance committee at Stormont, on how to handle legal and political issues in his testimony. He controversially alleged that Robinson financially gained from the infamous 1.5 billion euro deal known as ‘Project Eagle’.

The finance committee had heard allegations that a kickback payout of 7 million pounds was to be shared with some business and legal people and politicians.

At the time Mr Robinson said Mr Bryson’s claims were “scurrilous and unfounded”.

Sinn Fein chief whip Caral Ni Chuilin said Mr McKay has resigned as Assembly member for North Antrim with immediate effect.

“Daithi McKay has resigned as MLA for North Antrim with immediate effect and has been suspended from Sinn Fein. His letter of resignation has been submitted to the Speaker’s office.”

It was reported on Thursday that Mr McKay exchanged direct personal messages on Twitter with Mr Bryson in the period before he gave evidence to the Stormont finance committee in September last year, directing him to communicate with another Sinn Fein member and adviser. That account holder, appeared to advise Bryson how to present his evidence to the finance committee without being stopped by DUP committee members.

Sinn Fein said the communications were “a solo run” by Mr McKay and that it was only made aware of the allegations today. “Sinn Fein’s position has always been about getting to the truth about the sale of the Nama portfolio,” said a spokesman.

“Sinn Fein have only been made aware of these allegations today and if they are true, then this contact would be wholly inappropriate. If such contact did occur it was without the knowledge, involvement or sanction of Sinn Fein, “ he said.

© 2016 Irish Republican News