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Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Martin Hayden, chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, at the party’s think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare this morning, and the audio of an interview Mr Kenny gave to KFM Kildare this morning
On Saturday, Pat Leahy, in the Irish Times, reported that the C&AG found that hundreds of millions may have been lost in the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland property portfolio, Project Eagle, to US investment firm Cerebrus.
It was reported that this loss may have been due to what the C&AG found to be “shortcomings” and “irregularities” in the sale.
The C&AG report is due to be published on Wednesday.
The report about the C&AG study followed a BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme into Project Eagle broadcast last week, which followed an earlier Spotlight programme in March – both of which made serious allegations about the Project Eagle sale.
Readers may recall how, on June 1, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil:
“There has not been any allegation of wrongdoing against NAMA”.
In addition, on June 8, Mr Kenny told the Dáil:
“Nobody has presented me with evidence of wrongdoing by Nama”.
Further to this.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to Shane Beatty, of KFM Kildare, this morning, ahead of the Fine Gael’s
knees-up think-in starting today in Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare.
The C&AG report into NAMA was discussed.
From the interview…
Enda Kenny: “If I find… if I find, and our colleguess in Government, find that there is a case to be examined well then I won’t be opposed to that.”
Shane Beatty: “But viewers of BBC’s Spotlight will say we’ve already seen a case that I think we need to have an inquiry, why do we have to wait until Thursday?”
Enda Kenny: “There are two criminal investigations going on in a different jurisdiction.”
Shane Beatty: “None here.”
Enda Kenny: “None here, and the National Crime Agency in the UK have confirmed that there is no case that they have, or are in pursuit of, in repsect of NAMA down here. So, the C&AG’s report is about a ‘value for money’ audit and you, as was pointed out on many occasions… depending on the process you follow for valuations, you might get different results.
“If you, for instance, were to dispose of the properties now with the devaluation of Sterling you’d get a different result also. But I think this is an extensive report, we do need to read it, everybody needs to reflect on it. And if there are questions arising from the Public Accounts Committee’s engagment with NAMA, they are due in before them very shorty [September 22], I’m not adverse [sic] to taking action, but I need to know what is we are taking action on.
Shane Beatty: “Did you watch the Spotlight programme?”
Enda Kenny: “Yes I did, and I saw that, and I found it quiet incredible, but you know, Shane…”
Shane Beatty: “Incredible, how?”
Enda Kenny: “Nothing suprises me at the kind of activites that take place in politics. And in that sense I found it extraordinary to hear the audio report of engagements and meetings of certain personnel.”
Labour TD and vice chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Alan Kelly was interviewed on This Week by Colm Ó Mongáin following the reported findings of the C&AG report.
During the interview Mr Kelly said, in recent days, he was approached by a senior member of Nama ahead of Nama’s appearance before PAC on September 22.
From the interview…
Alan Kelly: The [C&AG] report on this should be released, and obviously then, Nama will come before the PAC. It’s a matter for Nama whether they want to make public statement on it, I believe they should, I believe they’ve been quite naive to a point in relation to this.
Even this week, a senior member of Nama contacted me to brief me before they met before the PAC. I redirected him to the chair of the PAC. I was not comfortable that selective briefings was the way to go to be appropriate given the situation we find ourselves in. But that just shows another level of naivety, I believe, in relation to Nama.
Colm Ó Mongáin: These briefings that were offered by Nama, how was that approach made and by whom?”
Kelly: “Ah well, I won’t, eh, get into individual, but, ah, just a call during the week to meet up. Look, I just explained the Public Accounts Committee is a different committee to every other committee, you know, it has different powers. And it wouldn’t be abnormal for other organisations to brief committee members of other committees but, in relation to this scenario, I think selective briefings wouldn’t be the way to go. And, obviously, I referred to the chairman in relation to this. But, for me, I didn’t think it was appropriately the way to deal with things.
Ó Mongáin: Is it your understanding that all members of the committee were offered these briefings?”
Kelly: “I have no idea, I was going to raise it with my committee colleagues when we meet. I doubt it, but I don’t know so I wouldn’t like to say indefinitely. But I will say this, I don’t think there was necessarily anything malicious or intentional in that way in relation to that contact… It’s another sense of naivety, I feel on the part of Nama in relation to how they do things. It gave me some concerns.”
Ó Mongáin: “Well, what did they want to tell you?”
Kelly: “Well that’s a matter for Nama. I understand that they’re in front of us in the coming weeks and I suppose they wanted to brief us on various different actions, but that would be a matter for Nama to state because obviously I don’t know because I didn’t meet them.”
Listen back to interview in full here
Transcript via Namawinelake