“My colleague Mr Girvan described this entire mess as a “dirty scheme”: do you agree with that?”

It may be that Mairtin has had second thoughts, possibly after reading Slugger

“Attempts to score cheap political points totally miss the real purpose of the inquiry which is to investigate allegations of corruption and possible conflicts of interest.

“Instead of trying to use the inquiry as an opportunity for party political grandstanding, all members should be working together to get to the truth of this major public interest issue.”

Quite.

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  • Kevin Breslin

    He had second thoughts about cutting Special Adviser pay too.

    Effectively backing DUP reforms that give OFMDFM as many special advisors as the rest of the reduced executive put together.

    Effectively defending their defenceless policy that SPADs should be treated equally to democratically elected MLAs because Sinn Féin a so-called Republican Party maintains a House of Lords mentality.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This is not only the biggest property deal in the North as Máirtín says, its the biggest property deal in Europe. The issue of massive fixers fees were aways gong to have been part of the discussions. But as Máirtín also says:

    “The real issue behind the sale of NAMA’s northern loan portfolio is possible corruption at the heart of the deal……….

    “The real questions around the sale are about the fixers fees; how much was due to be paid, to whom and for what.

    “That is what the public is interested in and that is we, as members of the Assembly’s finance committee, should be trying to establish through the inquiry.”

    It is highly unlikely that, unless someone has been especially careless and the minutes of some very private meetings come to light, we will ever discover what was promised to whom and what future services were brokered.

    But it is in the interests of us all and of the sort of transparency any political involvement with international finance should require to know what actually went on at the meetings between the FM, another member of his party and Cerberus. Cerberus have released a letter, sent the day before the March 25th meeting that implies that the meeting was convened to discuss their intent, should their bid be successful:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-34460941

    The only way to completely clarify this would be to realise not only the official minutes, but those variant minutes made by the principals or their assistants to highlight issues sometimes lost in the formal minutes that were taken. But as there may be issues of business confidentiality in such material it is highly unlikely that they will ever become public. It is important to remember that Cerberus has many of the US local government employees pension funds invested in its activities. This deal is something that not only affects us locally, but will effect the futures of many US citizens retirements. Accordingly it is something any responsible US administration will have an indirect interest in also. There are many interests involved here over and above the interests we are discussing.

  • Robin Keogh

    He is absolutely correct. It is important to do everything possible to get to the bottom of the mess. Playing party politics can distract from the issues. Its all about the evidence; if there any.

  • Gopher

    The reality is different political parties basically decided Peter is a Witch before hand let Marty be quite selective with the truth and called Jamie Bryson as an expert witness. I would have called it a show trial but in show trials they usually have more substance.

  • Robin Keogh

    Marty told no lies, most of the neetings and conversations were conducted or led from the DUP end so it falls to them to explain to provide clarity. It looks as if there is no tangible way of discovering who was to benefit from the stash which effectively shuts down that element of the investigation. Shinners have been accused of far worse with no evidence so it should not come as a surprise to anyone that the media roasted Robbo well before dinner time.

  • chrisjones2

    “Marty told no lie”

    course he didnt

  • chrisjones2

    So if SF pay advisers huge salaries knowing that everything above the old average wage goes to the party, is that not a fraud on the taxpayers .

    Discuss.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s not fraud in my opinion. They are happy to say they’ll cut salaries across the board but they still will get more money from an unelected SPAD than an elected minister in some occasions.

  • James7e

    One would have thought so, no? Essentially a political partt is creating unnecessary jobs, paying massive salaries, then skimming more than half off the top – it’s beyond me.

  • sadie

    For sure there does seem to have been some dodgy business, but is there any concrete evidence connecting the five named men to the £7.5 million

  • Robin Keogh

    And thats the seven million pound question… no evidence, no story…simples.

  • chrisjones2

    so they have a principled policy that the job is only worth say £25 k. They charge us £100k and pocket the £75k and you think that is OK?

  • Kevin Breslin

    The other side of that coin is the DUP SPAD is getting paid £100k for a job a Sinn Féin SPAD does at a quarter of their wages personalły.

    The scandal is there’s no real proof these jobs involve average industrial workloads especially the OFMDFM ones where eight people make £400k for the corporate interests of the two big parties a piece.

    Don’t bother getting elected, going to university, earning civil servant exams … Just be charity cases for the two first ministers.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Aye, but now we have the the nonsense of an un-elected SPAD, being an un-elected MLA, sitting on a scrutiny committee and “questioning” a stepped–aside-First Minister about issues (pertinent to ttheir whole SPAD role) to the same now- stepped–aside-First Minister….
    Is it me, or is that kind of er odd?

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s not you,

  • Kevin Breslin

    She’s not a SPAD anymore, and to be fair she is going to face the electorate in South Belfast standing on Jimmy Spratt’s credit at the risk of losing out to a fellow runner in Christopher Stalford. It would be even more scandalous if she didn’t face an electorate and did so under party orders. Pengelley and Nichola Mallon are two former SPADs the electorate will be able to cast their verdict on.

    We could see the farce of a minister losing their job and their SPAD staying in place, and they becoming a SPAD too.

    SPADs are a bit like Irish Senators, often they get sent to the “other place” to fill a gap.