Republic of Ireland news

Dáil committee chair claims he was pressured to limit Nama report

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming, chairman of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee. Picture from RTE

THE chairman of the Dáil's powerful public accounts committee has alleged that pressure was put on him to limit its report into the sale of Nama's northern loan book.

Sean Fleming, a Fianna Fáil TD for Laois, claimed the question of a legal challenge was raised by both finance minister Michael Noonan and Nama and "senior people" in Leinster House had also "made it clear that if they were not happy with the report, then they would prevent the report from being issued".

The committee launched an inquiry into the £1.2bn Project Eagle sale after a critical report by the Republic's Comptroller and Auditor General.

It concluded that Nama's strategy was "seriously deficient" and criticised failures of corporate governance - allegations rejected by the Republic's 'bad bank'.

Speaking in the Oireachtas today, Mr Fleming claimed that during a meeting in the Dáil restaurant in February 2015, Mr Noonan complained that the committee was being unfair to him and said "you know that I can injunct you".

He also alleged that during a conversation with the chairman of Nama, Frank Daly, he was told that "the issue of legal advice was being considered, but the high financial cost of it to Nama was an issue that they had to take into account".

Mr Fleming also told the Oireachtas committee that "senior officials in this house said they would consider their approach in terms of not allowing (the report)".

When asked who he was referring to, he said "I'm not going to name names, I'm talking about senior officials in the Dáil" but he was not referring to TDs.

"I think the fact that we did our work has strengthened our work," he said.

However, members of the committee rejected a proposal to write to Mr Noonan seeking an apology for his remarks, with Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan accusing the committee of "political manoeuvres".

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