Call for ‘tandem’ Nama inquiries

The Dáil and Stormont’s public spending watchdogs have been urged to immediately set up “tandem” but separate investigations into Nama’s Project Eagle controversy to side-step legal hurdles blocking a full cross-border inquiry.

Fianna Fáil TD and Dáil public accounts committee chair Sean Fleming made the suggestion last night, saying the move could help uncover the exact details behind the multi-billion euro deal.

While keeping the prospect of a State inquiry in the Republic alive if it is warranted, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said during his party’s pre-Dáil think-in that a cross-border investigation could not happen as “the legal advice is you are two sovereign jurisdictions with great difficulties”.

However, speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme last night, Mr Fleming said the cross-party group and its Stormont finance committee equivalent could side-step the issue by setting up tandem but separate investigations.

He said that this could work by allowing TDs to submit questions to the Stormont body for its meetings with Nama and others key to the case while watching interviews from the public gallery, and for the same option to be made available to MLAs travelling to the Republic.

However, it remained unclear how conclusions drawn in one jurisdiction’s parliamentary inquiry could be imposed in the other.

The Cabinet will publish the C&AG 700-page Nama Project Eagle report today, including claims taxpayers’ lost out on “hundreds of millions of euro” .

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