BBC NI Spotlight opens a can of worms for Northern Ireland’s Mr Fixit…

So, finally, the real story of Nama comes out. It’s not about politicians (except those who were using it trying to shaft other politicians)… It’s about wealthy developers trying to save their impaired assets from Nama by paying one of Nama’s advisors to save their assets.

I’ll just let that one lie for a bit

  • Declan Doyle

    There are a few very nervous Dupers this morning.

  • woodkerne

    And with DUP grandees (and siblings) seemingly in the thick of it. Ironic don’t you think that it is variance as between the two jurisdictions that provides the loophole enabling these shiesters to defraud both states and that a prerequisite solution is an all-island inquiry.

  • mickfealty

    He was the Executive’s appointee, which SF was a party to. Now, if you want to go further than that, I suggest you phone your lawyer for advice rather than posting it here on Slugger!

  • mickfealty

    Just reinforcing your safety and ours. This story is ongoing now, so we’ll see where it lands. Just keep to what we know, and we’ll all be grand!

  • Jollyraj

    Nervous about what?

  • mickfealty

    Now materially, this is THE story. And it’s a humungous one, particularly if there’s a high level leak at Nama itself.

    The Finance Committee inquiry did not cover any of this terrritory in any depth, even though, as I noted over a year ago, that Cushnahan was the big point of interest here: https://goo.gl/rcc4Q1.

    Now, as I have always said, I put no boundaries on where this story should go. Robinson’s son is the closest we get to political involvement and there’s nothing material (yet) to connect him.

    The fact the NCA haven’t got into this line of inquiry suggests it’s going to run and run..

  • Declan Doyle

    Ah here now would ya go on outta that for the love of all that’s decent. He wasn’t a close friend of anyone in the executive apart from a few Dupers, so let’s be up straight on that from the get go.

  • mickfealty

    Merely pointing out to Ciaran that there was an official relationship there bounded by the appointment made by the Executive at large. Let’s not muddy the waters.

  • Obelisk

    An All island response is a non starter simply because it is all island. I’ve said before that the island of Ireland could be sinking into the sea and the Unionists would still rule out an all ireland response, and I stand by that sentiment. It doesn’t matter how helpful or sane such a response would be, the fact it is all Ireland rules it out.

  • Declan Doyle

    there was also a separate close friendship going in. Indeed, let’s not muddy the waters.

  • mickfealty

    Always follow the money Dec. And this is the motherload. As I said last year the public appointment system in NI stinks to high heaven: https://goo.gl/rcc4Q1.

  • woodkerne

    Ironic not for that reason but because – according to Spotlight’s discoveries – in this particular instance the separation of jurisdictions has provided the loophole by which the deception has occurred and thus, by resisting an all-island investigation, if that’s what they choose to do, will place the DUP et al in the position of defending a major crime against NI revenues. One moreover for which they cannot blame the shinners.

  • Jollyraj

    “I’ve said before that the island of Ireland could be sinking into the sea and the Unionists would still rule out an all ireland response”

    Perhaps. And Republicans would be more than happy for it to sink, as long as it did so as one national unit.

  • Declan Doyle

    I don’t know why I still get shocked by the disparity in reporting such issues on this site and elsewhere. Could you imagine if it was three Shinners mentioned in the report last night. There would be no concerns about lawyers, no alluding to how cush was appointed; we would have at least ten threads on it here before 11am and the Indobots would be hysterical.

  • woodkerne

    It may not be solely about politicians but it is certainly about the close connections of politics & business, in the colloquial form characteristic of local governance the world over. In this instance, more interestingly, we see perhaps the twinkling of a new, non-sectarian politics, determined instead by the familiar forces and relations of capitalist economies – i.e., venality, nepotism and corruption.

  • mickfealty

    You haven’t listened to my Audioboom from last year yet, have you? And if you don’t know the difference between man and ball, I suggest you go back and have another look at that too?

    I’ve been pretty consistent on this story. Last night’s programme, I suspect, puts it from the unethical behaviour column to the possibly criminal, for the first time. You’d barely know that from coverage elsewhere.

    Our readers don’t have bags of time to read sheaves of game playing sophistry, they come to Slugger for actual real dope. Thus the ad hominem rule.

  • Declan Doyle

    Ah sure that’s a nationwide issue, they are just as bad in Dublin.

  • mickfealty

    Listen to the podcast, or take off. These pages are for engagement. Why should I take the trouble of dealing with you seriously if you refuse to reciprocate?

  • Declan Doyle

    Commenting on the standard of balanced reporting in the media is not man playing. Pointing out disparities in the way individuals or groups are portrayed on a site or in the broader media is also not man playing.

    Having an editorial line and priority is perfectly normal in this age of celeb style shock dj biased journalism.

  • Declan Doyle

    I am quite happy to engage. If you look back over my posts I engage very healthily and happy to do so. Pod cast is excellent as it happens.

  • Declan Doyle

    Cush is fair deep in the soup now for certain. He will not get out of this one, it’s unlikely he will go down alone if there is anyone tied to him as suggested last night, it won’t be long till we find out.

  • Obelisk

    We’ve been seeing the twinkling of a new, non-sectarian politics since the Good Friday Agreement. Personally I don’t believe such a thing as possible as I feel Northern Ireland was designed to contain rather than solve our conflict. Even the peace agreement itself perpetuates it. Rather than a non-sectarian approach, what will instead happen is that this scandal will be passed through the filter of our own unique politics and twisted by it. Somehow it’ll boil down to ‘it was themmuns who were at fault’ because somehow it always does.

  • Jollyraj

    Declan’s lack of response seems to suggest he has nothing behind his claim that the DUP will be nervous. Classic Republican tactic of slinging enough mud at a blank canvas until critical mass is gathered, the empty canvas is no longer visible, then shout ‘cover up!’

    Is that it, Declan, or was there actually something behind the claim?

  • woodkerne

    That’s fair comment of course and hard to disagree with hitherto. My suspicion though is that the exceptionalism of the wee-six can only go on for so long and that over time, inexorably, inevitably, the corruptions of ordinary, secular capitalism and the non-sectarian economic interests of the business class will bit by bit supplant and replace the habits and mindsets of the sectarian polity and society

  • Ciaran74

    There were several names mentioned early and there are a concentrated few now repeatedly bandied about Belfast legal circles. Not every one of them is in the DUP but have had personal dealings with each other for some time.

    Greed is never pleased.

  • anon

    Mick, let’s just see how it plays out before we assume that there was no-one else involved.

  • anon

    Spotlight focussed on whether he may have breached the Nama act – that’s a red herring. The man himself in the recordings referred to the possibility of jail for conspiracy to defraud. It’s unlikely he would bandy those terms around without having discussed the prospect with some lawyers.

  • Oggins

    Would not solely define it as a republican tactic. It is a tactic used by all sides in opposition.

  • Jollyraj

    To be fair, Ireland has 26 counties. There are a further 6 counties on the landmass, but those are counties of the UK. Are you including both countries in your estimation of corruption, or only this part of the UK?

  • mickfealty

    Fair comment. The headline is probably just me overcompensating for the general hysteria that’s got up behind this story.

  • Obelisk

    Sadly you’ve more faith than I have. As I said, I believe Northern Ireland contains and perpetuates the conflict even if it’s simply at a level of a cold hard stare between communities right now. This has endured for nearly a hundred years. We are coming up on twenty years since the Agreement and there has been no real shift in attitudes. Why should the future be different?

  • Declan Doyle

    You are giving very little credit to the many groups and individuals out there that work hard at bringing communities together.

  • Obelisk

    I judge by results. And I say that in sorrow, not in scorn.

  • Korhomme

    I watched the programme on BBC. I got confused at times; the recording in the car park was made at the time, but surely the pics of the Jag were a reconstruction. This wasn’t at all clear.

    Notwithstanding my confusion, there is a really bad smell about this; but I wonder if it will all eventually come out. Inquiries are all very well, but they can take yonks, involve loads of lawyers and often seem to not get at quite what was going on.

    On vera.

  • Slater

    Slater is a bit baffled. Were these developers not bankrupted when NAMA took over their bank loans and thus the properties?
    In which case, where would they find the money to buy their assets back, even if cheaper?

  • NotNowJohnny

    I think Neill may have been referring to the geographical entity that is, and has been for many centuries, known as Ireland. The clue was in the number of counties. Political developments tend not to change geography. A week is a long time in politics whereas with geography even a year is no time at all.

  • Declan Doyle

    Northern society is not homogenous enough for it to be ever as settled as the rest of Ireland or the people of France or Germany or Italy for example. Humans over the centuries have evolved in a way where they gravitate toward their own percieved kin. Ethnic connectivity through having a shared history, culture, language, traditions and blood etc. Is the rule rather than the exception. Sometimes it seems that those who are looking for harmony in the north of iteland are looking in the wrong direction. Criticising hundreds and thousands of people is not the best approach. In fact it is counter productive. However, I don’t share your negativity, life in the North is far better for people now than it was twenty years ago. Maybe it’s a case of just being a little more patient.

  • Jollyraj

    Fair enough – though I think he was referring to corruption (a political issue rather than a geographical one) – and thus getting kinda confused. Ireland – as a 32 county political unit – simply doesn’t exist.

  • grumpy oul man

    The fact that the issue cross,s the border and effects both Jurisdictions wasn’t a clue!

  • Obelisk

    But surely those settled societies are the benchmark we set ourselves against?

    Yes, we are better off now than what we were. But we are not close to the examples you mentioned, and instead seem to have settled into a comfortable rut of institutionalising the conflict rather than having it rage about us.

    I acknowledge we have come some way. We still have too far to go and I don’t believe it is achievable, at least within my lifetime.

  • chrisjones2

    What stunning lack of knowledge of France and Germany. And you idea of ethnic identity is as close to eugenics as one can get

    Do have a rethink Declan. I think your analysis is utterly wrong

  • chrisjones2

    How do you know where NCA have gone?

  • cu chulainn

    Don’t be ridiculous, Ireland has had the same number of counties since the 18th century, although the extent of British rule over those counties has varied.

  • Declan Doyle

    There is only one way any society can settle itself. That’s in acceptance of difference rather than forcing integration.

  • Declan Doyle

    Outside investors. Or indeed ‘inside’ investors.

  • John Collins

    Well Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson are shown proclaiming their respect for Frank Cusnahan in the programme. I just wonder.

  • woodkerne

    Less a matter of faith than proper and proportionate ‘pessimism of the intellect’ allied to ‘optimism of the will’. For example, secular, integrated education is surely a keystone commitment worth working for and through to against the entrenched interests of things as they are.

  • Patrick Mac

    How can anyone ‘ask’ them if they’re both dead ?

  • NotNowJohnny

    That is true, although I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would feel the need to point this out.

  • eireanne3

    here’s a little background to mr cusnahan’s career, and a youtube link to the programme for all those without access to BBc i player https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/nama-miskelly-miss-out/

  • Jollyraj

    What do you wonder, JC?

  • Jollyraj

    An Ireland with 32 counties? Hasn’t existed for about a hundred years.

  • cu chulainn

    Typical idiotic comment. If Ireland had 32 counties when the British occupied all of it, then how exactly did removing them from part of it change the number of counties. This is supposed to be a serious forum.

  • Gopher

    Well by turning the Stormont inquiry into a bent political show trial SF have ruled out any involvement by the assembly in future investigation (probably investigations) Any witness will have no difficulty in arguing that point in a court. So an all Ireland investigation is a non starter. It will have to be under the auspices of HMG and RoIG now.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, yes, precisely because it’s a serious forum we should at least be accurate in our terminology.

    The political unit of Ireland consists of 26 counties, not 32. If one wishes to refer to both parts then it is correct to say ‘Ireland and Northern Ireland’, or ‘Ireland and parts of the UK’. There really isn’t a lot to be said more than that – it’s an obvious enough point, isn’t it.

  • Jollyraj

    Just being accurate. Ireland, the internationally recognized political unit, nation or whatever you wish to call it, has 26 counties. Not 32. It is clownish to pretend that isn’t the case.

  • Jollyraj

    I agree with you.

  • Gopher

    Again nope, The investigation by Stormont was unfair and personal and calls into question the Assembly’s ability to conduct an impartial investigation. Impartiality is the building block of every investigation judicial or otherwise. SF have undermined the Assembly’s credibility to conduct any further investigation of the personal affairs of any citizen. I am quite sure that will now within any citizens legal right not to partake in a charade or witch hunt.

    The main culpability for the whole scandal is the opaque and closed shop that exists within Ireland’s legal system especially in the North that made this series of event possible. You can chase Robbo to the windmill all night long with the rest of the village idiots (Is Donaghaghee a village or a town?) but the truth you certainly won’t get. Now all power of investigation and the veneer of maturity is gone from the assembly any investigation will be done by the “Legal System” of HMG and RoIG. That I find reprehensible.

  • Paul

    Mick’s right the main focus of the criminal investigation will be these developers, Cushnahan et al. They are the main actors in this and make no mistake this was an effort to use insider knowledge to make multi millions. However as this is an NI political blog, I’m interested in the political involvement.

    It’s in my nature to be a sceptic and politics in this country hasn’t done much to change my attitude. Given the hysterics that some reached over McKay’s coaching of Bryson (who was clearly briefed by elements of the DUP …curiously little said about this though) I expected a few more questions of the DUP members role in this bid (it is not clear what form that role took but it is clear they were there).
    It appears that Sammy Wilson (former Finance Minister) and Peter Robinson’s son had some sort of role/input now everybody on this site is fond of saying that SF has a party machine that is top down and nobody goes on solo runs in it, the only party that rivals them in that regard is the DUP.
    Are we to believe that Sammy Wilson and Peter Robinson’s son aren’t going to involve their party leader/Dad/others? Given the low number of the final “winning” bid and Wilson’s role with these developers coupled with his role as Finance Minister it’s a bit suspect, maybe he’s done nothing, but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks well..
    Curious also is the lack of questioning of Wilson by the media. If we look at the Keith Vaz affair this week over a sexual encounter in a hotel compared to this it’s a bit surreal that local media hasn’t been chasing Wilson at all.

  • Paul

    Given the people involved, and that NAMA is/was the Republic of Ireland’s bad bank and finally given that the properties it owned spanned Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland it isn’t that unreasonable to use 32 counties. But I suspect your response had more to do with that sectarian reflex you struggle to control, as opposed to looking at the OP.

  • PeterBrown

    The same place they were able to find £40,000 in cash to pay for his “services” which reminds me it is time for the annual check down the back of the Brown family sofa!

  • Chris Spratt

    Involvement with Red Sky eh?

  • Gopher

    So the 7 million that was actually physically “diverted” back and forth across the Irish Sea does not actually bother you?

  • Jollyraj

    “But I suspect your response had more to do with that sectarian reflex you struggle to control, as opposed to looking at the OP.”

    Indeed. How very sectarian of me to express my wonderment at the chap’s refusal to accept a political reality that has been in place for nigh on a hundred years. Yes, I’m aware of what the island taken as a whole looks like – I merely pointed out to him that the country of Ireland has only 26 counties. Hardly sectarian of me, being able to count.

  • John Collins

    Well I would await the outcome of any inquiry before I would comment in detail. However it would appear, at least on the surface, that there was one smooth talking trickster knocking about, who took in some surprisingly gullible people, who should have known better.

  • John Collins

    JR
    It is in the interests of all states to cooperate with each other to stop crime. Both police forces should work together on this.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It depends on where you are standing JR!

    “The Constitution of Ireland was amended in 1999 to remove a claim of the “Irish nation” to sovereignty over the whole of Ireland (in Article 2)”.

    So for the greater part of the Island’s population, “Northern Ireland” has only been constitutionally recognised for about 17 years. Not that I’m taking any defined position on this or anything……

  • Paul

    Ireland does have a corruption problem both in NI and the RoI (i.e. in its entire 32 counties), your response has nothing at all to do with Neil’s supposed “inability to accept a Political reality” and more to do with you trying to turn every debate you take part in, into a sectarian point scoring exercise.

  • AntrimGael

    I hope people realise now that this place has never been black and white and that smoke and mirrors have been the by-words for most of the political, business and media wheelings and dealings. Frank Cushnahan is a former pupil of St.Malachy’s College, THE original top Catholic grammar school in the North, and yet he was great buddies with the DUP?? He was also very involved and very influential in the Belfast Harbour Establishment, which would also have been perceived to be very Unionist. I trust NO politician, NO political party, NONE of the business community and very few journalists. This place is so small and insular that they all inhabit the same circles and scratch each others’ backs.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Forced segregation or rather the facilitation of segregation (as in making it the path of least resistance) surely doesn’t help either?

  • eireanne3

    yes indeed