Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
In the Sunday Business Post.
Further to the newspaper’s report last week that the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, the Department of Finance and Nama have been heavily criticised in a draft report by the Public Accounts Committee – in relation to Nama’s sale of its Northern Ireland loan book, known as Project Eagle…
And that, specifically, it was “not appropriate” for Noonan or Nama to meet with Cerberus the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date…
Jack Horgan-Jones and Hugh O’Connell reported:
Noonan has rebutted the finding, contained in the committee’s draft working paper and published by this newspaper last week, that it was “not appropriate” for him to meet with the US fund prior to its €1.6 billion purchase of Nama’s Northern portfolio. The draft said this could be perceived as “special treatment”.
…In a letter to the committee last week, Noonan expressed “great concern” over the draft findings, saying they were “extremely damaging” to him. He maintains that the meetings were not inappropriate and that he was never given a right of reply.
But committee members are doubling down this weekend. “Everybody agrees the fact that he met them is a problem. Everybody understands. Nobody can say it was a good idea to meet Cerberus on the day of the bids,” a PAC source said.
“The point of that whole meeting, the potential impression that meeting gave, will remain in [the report] . . . The essence of that meeting happening at that time and the impression of that meeting and having such access at that critical time will be in the final report.”
Another committee source said that while the language around the finding may change, it is extremely unlikely to be removed altogether.
Fine Gael TDs on the committee have indicated they will attempt to block any report which states that Noonan did not act appropriately.
PAC stands firm over criticism of Noonan-Cerberus meeting (Jack Horgan-Jones, Hugh O’Connell, The Sunday Business Post)