Quiet Executive cooperation makes part of NAMA investigation go away

An interesting story by Chris Woodhouse appears on page 10 of today’s Sunday Life.

MLAs stormed out of a secret session of a Stormont committee in a row over the investigation into links between Assembly members and loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson…

SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips and People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll both left the meeting in protest following a controversial vote.

The background is that the then Finance Committee Chair (and now Slugger contributor) Daithí McKay resigned over allegedly coaching Bryson prior to his giving evidence to the Finance Committee about the NAMA scandal.

Many, including some in the DUP, had called for there to be an investigation into those events, including into Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who was named in the Bryson/McKay communications.

The Standards and Privileges Committee had been due to ask the Commissioner for Standards, Douglas Bain, to investigate other members of the Finance Committee…

However, DUP and Sinn Fein members voted down the motion which provoked Mr McPhillips and Mr Carroll to walk out. Members from the Alliance Party, Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and People before Profit all voted in favour of the recommendation.

It seems that the issue has been buried. There is to be no investigation or referral by the Assembly into what occurred between any members of the Finance Committee, and any witnesses. Sinn Fein members had strongly objected when the focus shifted from McKay onto Ó Muilleoir, and now the DUP have voted alongside their Executive partners-in-government to stop any attempt to look further into what had occurred.

A spokesperson for Sinn Fein said: “The walkout by Richie McPhillips and Gerry Carroll from the Standards and Privileges Committee is no more than the usual empty stunt politics from parties with nothing to offer on any important[sic] or substantial issue.”

However, an SDLP spokesperson hit back at Sinn Fein, saying: “Those who subvert scrutiny are delaying the process of information recovery and ill serve the public interest.”

This all occurred in early December, and in light of recent events around RHI it’s intriguing to see the DUP support Sinn Fein in shuffling an issue off the table and under the rug, ending any hope of the calls for an investigation from non-Executive parties and the wider public.

The current Finance Committee, led by DUP Chair, Emma Pengelly MLA, called for the Finance Minister to step aside during an investigation. Where have we heard that recently!?

One does wonder though why the DUP would support Sinn Fein on this matter, given the rhetoric espoused by its members at the time …

Update – Jamie Bryson tweets in response to this blog post …

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  • ted hagan

    Here’s the platform Daithi, now’s your chance.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Jamie Bryson is correct. (Never ever thought I would hear myself say those words)

  • Jag

    “Quiet Executive cooperation makes part of NAMA investigation go away”


    It’s made all of it go away. The 11-member finance committee with 4 DUP and 2 SF has stopped the resumption of the half-finished NAMA Project Eagle probe. Sure, there are legal difficulties with the 18+ month old police investigation, but the probe under Daithi McKay had done outstanding work, and could have done far more.

    The question now, with the SF/DUP coalition stumbling towards collapse (no confidence vote tomorrow, red line on Arlene stepping aside, provocative language), will the NAMA pact be torn up?

  • Nevin

    CSP minutes 23 November 2016 [pdf file], includes proposal, amendment and voting record.

  • Gingray

    Why? Sure before Christmas you had been defending Arlene and the DUP, up until the point SF changed position, and without even a reddened face you did a swift 180.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Nope and thats a shockingly disengenuous representation.

  • Jag

    SF and the DUP clubbed together to stop any scrutiny of SF’s Mairtin O’Muilleoir. Now, why would the DUP be so amenable?


  • Nevin

    I wouldn’t want to speculate, Jag!

  • Gingray

    Anthony O’Shea anon 19 days ago
    But is she wounded within her own constituency? That’s the question. Why pull the house down only to see it built back up with the very same bricks?

    Anthony O’Shea 19 days ago
    Its discomforting to watch people gather in the hope of feasting on a carcass. It’s as if politicians and in this case Arlene, are somehow sub-human.


    Not disingenuous at all, its just fun to see you repeat SF soundbites, with little personal input, and even more fun to watch you flip without batting an eyelid.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Unlike youself I dont have a ‘fixed’ opinion on any given fluid situation. Having the ability to reasses a situation as information unfolds is far more genuine than dogmatic biased opinion.

    I gave Arlene the benifit of the doubt, even after the Bell interview. What struck me was her absolute refusal to show any humility or contrition whatsoever. This is what made me suspicious after a time. It was only when the emails of warning to her offices became clear that I felt then it was best if she stepped aside for an enquiry.

    Its not that I agreed with the Sinn Fein position, they just happen to agree with me.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Jamie seems to believe, as per the inserted tweet at the end that this is all about him.
    Interesting… and incorrect.

  • Gingray

    Intrinsically linked eh 🙂

    Anthony, in this thread you have taken the side of Bryson because it helps protect SF from investigation, and the price has been an end to the NAMA investigation.

    Only a blind party loyalist would see that as making sense.

    Essentially you are supporting covering up for the DUP again.

    And it fits with your ‘fixed’ position on every issue – always, always, always, tow the SF party line and never ever ever say anything that disagrees with it.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    If I agree with SF or they agree with me, why should I or anyone else have to explain that to you. Either you agree with my opinion on an issue or you dont regardless of who shares that opinion. You feel the need to personalise the issue, attack me as a stooge of some sort. And thats fine if it rocks your boat, if that’s your gig I wont upset your delusion, but dont expect me to respect you for it.

  • Gingray

    I am not sure I said you needed to explain yourself to me, or anyone else, merely pointing out that your posts contain zero personal opinion and 100% SF party line.

    As demonstrated above, this has led to 180ø switches, and unwholesome bedfellows, hence the love in with Bryson.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    So when i said that Sinn Fein’s contradictory quacking over the issue was delaying its resolution; you think thats party line?

    Love in? LOL

  • john millar

    “But is she wounded within her own constituency? That’s the question. Why pull the house down only to see it built back up with the very same bricks?”

    Well put –Arlene (with help from the usual sources) will turn any election into the old Unionist/Republican spat and probably marginalise SDLP /Alliance/UUP further.

    I am however considerably cheered up by the fact that 18 of the cast of the Panto on the hill will be removed from the cast list.

  • Gingray

    I know – once you add in associated costs, should save nearly £2m a year 🙂

  • Gingray

    Anthony, as far as I could see you had only pointed out that you had been doing some contradictory quacking on Slugger. An apology from you for encouraging delay and attacking those you now agree with would not be out of order.

    “Mea culpa, mea culpa,
    mea máxima culpa.”

  • Granni Trixie

    Glad you’re not asking him to stand down.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    What’s the weather like in your world Ging? Jesus Wept.

  • Gingray

    Fairly stable an uaineoil, no dramatic shifts or aligning with bad elements like in you seem to experience 😉

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Thats wondeful news

  • Gingray

    Flip flop?

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Two cold for flip flops at the moment, unless you’re in a farmers barn of course.