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McGuiness seeks to appear before Dáil committee

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald has called for DUP leader Peter Robinson and former finance minister Sammy Wilson to appear before the Dáil committee

MARTIN McGuinness wants to address the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee on Nama’s £1.3bn northern loan book sale.

The deputy first minister has written to the committee clerk in Leinster House seeking to come before its members “at the earliest opportunity”.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald revealed the request yesterday as the Republic’s Department of Finance came under fire for the timing of its release of 41 documents to the PAC.

The records showed that Mr McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson had taken part in a conference call with the Republic’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan during which a letter from US bidder Pimco was discussed.

Pimco withdrew from the process after it emerged that former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan was acting for the company in an advisory capacity. Mr Cushnahan has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr McGuinness last week told the assembly finance committee that he had been kept in the dark about over the level of meetings and correspondence relating to the sale of the Project Eagle debt portfolio.

At yesterday’s PAC meeting, chairman John McGuinnees said the Department of Finance had only forwarded the documents at 9pm on Wednesday night, saying: “The release of documentation like this before the meeting today is nothing short of interfering with the work of the committee.”

Independent TD Shane Ross claimed that the “quite shocking” decision to release the documents on the night before the PAC meeting was designed to be “politically divisive” and to “provide a distraction” to proceedings.

Ms McDonald called on DUP leader Peter Robinson and former minister for finance Sammy Wilson to travel to Dublin to appear before PAC members.

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