Jamie Bryson ‘coached’ by Sinn Fein over Nama evidence: claim

Jamie Bryson appears before Stormont's Nama inquiry
Jamie Bryson appears before Stormont's Nama inquiry

Loyalist protestor Jamie Bryson was “coached” by the Sinn Fein chair of the finance committee before he gave evidence to the Nama inquiry in Stormont, it has been claimed.

According to a report in the Irish News, north Antrim MLA Daithi McKay was in contact with Mr Bryson in the weeks before the hearing.

Sinn Féin this morning told the BBC it will “urgently and robustly” pursue the claims that loyalist Jamie Bryson was “coached” by party members ahead of his appearance before Stormont’s inquiry into the Nama property deal.

Mr Bryson meanwhile denied his evidence was guided in any way by Sinn Fein.

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry has said the claim casts “real doubt” over the entire inquiry process.

The newspaper alleges that the then-chairman of Stormont’s Finance Committee, Daithi McKay, arranged a Sinn Fein back channel to the loyalist to tell him how to approach his evidence session earlier this year, including precisely how to make allegations against former First Minister Peter Robinson, and when Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir would step in with his questions during the session,

Jamie Bryson appears before Stormont's Nama inquiry

Jamie Bryson appears before Stormont's Nama inquiry

North Down MLA Dr Farry said: “Prior to Mr Bryson’s appearance at the Nama evidence inquiry session, Alliance expressed concern over the potential for his evidence to consist of hearsay, politically motivated or that it would be otherwise unreliable and could possibly prejudice any police investigation.”

He added that the current claim “vindicates that caution”.

And in a statement issued this morning, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “I have already complained about McKay to the Assembly Standards Commissioner and will be adding these revelations to that complaint today.

“However I also believe that the police should be investigating this issue and am considering how that can best be done.”

He added that the committee had been used to air “unfounded allegations about Peter Robinson as a means of distracting Peter Robinson from dealing with the mess they [Sinn Fein] had made of welfare reform”.

Mr Robinson has always strongly denied any wrongdoing in connection with the massive Nama property deal.