Martin McGuinness has called for an all-island inquiry into Nama’s sale of its Northern Irish loan book, following the critical audit of the €1.6bn deal.
The North’s deputy first minister also refused to say when he would step down as speculation continues over when he and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams will hand over the running of the party. While public representatives present a united front on Mr Adams’s leadership, there are suggestions TD’s Pearse Doherty or Mary Lou McDonald are eager to take over.
Mr Doherty yesterday refused to say if he would enter the frame if the position was there and indicated he had “no personal ambition” to lead. Ms McDonald said she had no comment to make.
Sinn Féin yesterday continued its two-day Meath think-in. On Monday, Mr Adams said he had a plan on stepping down. He did not elaborate as how or when, but did signal he thought a woman should take over.
Meanwhile, Mr McGuinness yesterday insisted a cross-border inquiry was the best way to further investigate problems with Nama’s Project Eagle, a deal beset with problems over fixer fees, potential conflicts of interest, and questions about how the sale was conducted.
The Public Accounts Committee will later this month quiz Nama officials about the deal following a critical report this week by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has asked opposition leaders to suggest, by next week, terms for an inquiry after the Cabinet came around to agreeing that a full probe was needed.
But there are concerns about confidentiality, along with compelling witnesses in the North to attend and securing co-operation from Stormont, especially after the DUP said that they did not back such a route.
Nonetheless, Mr McGuinness hit out at “unduly long” police inquiries into aspects of the sale, including £7m in an Isle of Man account.
Despite Mr Kenny playing down a cross-border probe, Mr McGuinness says the terms for a Project Eagle inquiry could be agreed through the North-South ministerial council.
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