Pearse Doherty: Daithi McKay 'acted alone' on Nama loans inquiry

Pearse Doherty: Daithi McKay 'acted alone' on Nama loans inquiry
Daithi McKay.

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has insisted a senior party colleague suspended over claims he was coaching another witness in Northern Ireland's Nama loans inquiry acted alone throughout the controversy, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

The Donegal TD rejected suggestions ex-Antrim MLA Daithi McKay was supported by any other party member, adding he would be "shocked" if "innuendo" surrounding a second official proved to be correct.

Last week, Mr McKay stood down as a member of the Stormont Assembly and was suspended by Sinn Féin after he became the subject of claims he was coaching loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson on what to say while a witness at the inquiry.

Both men have attended the Stormont inquiry into Nama loans, and specifically multi-billion euro deals involving international company Cerberus.

As such, the suggestion of any contact between Mr McKay and Mr Bryson - who raised serious allegations that former DUP first minister Peter Robinson was to gain financially over the deal, claims Mr Robinson rejects - has led to widespread concern.

Responding to the situation during a Dáil press briefing, Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said he is convinced Mr McKay acted alone and that his party was right to suspend him.

He said despite "innuendo" surrounding Sinn Féin's Northern Ireland finance minister Martin O Muilleoir, there is no "hard evidence" to suggest the second official or anyone else in the party had anything to do with the controversy.

"Sinn Féin have standards and Daithi said very clearly that he failed to step up to his own standards and the standards of the party. And he did the right thing to swiftly resign from his position.

"I'm the finance spokesperson, I'd imagine that if this [the communication with another witness] was something that was known within Sinn Féin I would have known. Daithi McKay acted alone," he said.

Asked if Mr O Muilleoir should resign if any evidence emerges relating to him, Mr Doherty added:

"Of course I would. But I would be shocked.

"I am absolutely confident in Martin O Muilleoir, he welcomes any investigation into that [the communications] because it will be his opponents who will be using this as a political football and will have to come up with the hard evidence."

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