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Nama probe committee to ponder Stormont call for Noonan

The Republic's finance minister Michael Noonan may be summoned by a Stormont committee

The assembly committee probing the circumstances surrounding the sale of Nama's northern portfolio may call officials from the Republic's Department of Finance to give evidence.

The finance and personnel committee is currently taking legal advice in the hope of forcing the north's Department of Finance permanent secretary David Sterling and senior Nama officials to attend its hearings.

But the committee will also consider asking Michael Noonan and his department officials in Dublin for any documents they hold relating to Nama in the north.

The MLAs may also decide to call Mr Noonan in person.

Stormont finance minister Arlene Foster has refused the committee's request for information her department held about Nama because she does not want to prejudice a National Crime Agency investigation - a position criticised by committee chairman Daithi McKay.

The NCA and the committee launched separate investigations last month in the wake of Mick Wallace's explosive allegations about the £1.3bn sale of Nama's northern loan book – known as Project Eagle – to US vulture fund Cerberus.

The independent Wexford TD claimed £7m lodged in an Isle of Man bank account by Tughans' former managing partner Ian Coulter was destined for a Northern Ireland politician.

Mr McKay said he believed the Department of Finance in Dublin held information that would be of interest to the committee.

"Michael Noonan has said he had meetings with (former Stormont finance ministers) Sammy Wilson and Simon Hamilton, so clearly there will minutes and information held in the south that corresponds with the information we cannot get hold of in the north," he said.

"I will be suggesting to committee members that we write to the department in Dublin to ask for correspondence with its counterpart in the north."

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