Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty insists a party colleague who was suspended over claims he was coaching another witness in the North’s Nama loans inquiry, acted alone throughout the controversy.
The Donegal TD rejected suggestions that ex-Antrim MLA Daithí McKay was supported by any other party member, adding he would be “shocked” if “innuendo” surrounding the North’s finance minster proved to be correct.
Last week, Mr McKay stood down as a member of the Stormont Assembly and was suspended by Sinn Féin after claims he was coaching loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson on what to say while a witness at the inquiry.
Mr McKay was chair of Stormont’s finance committee that inquired into Nama loans, including multi-billion euro deals involving international firm, Cerberus.
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.
Mr Doherty yesterday said he is convinced Mr McKay acted alone and his party was right to suspend him. He said despite “innuendo” surrounding Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, there is no “hard evidence” to suggest he or anyone else in the party had anything to do with the controversy.
“Sinn Féin have standards and Daithí 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. Daithí McKay acted alone,” he said.
Asked if Mr Ó 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 Máirtín Ó 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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