McGuinness claims DUP and Dublin kept him in the dark

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness gives evidence at Stormont on Wednesday to Stormont's Finance Committee on the controversial sale of Nama's NI assets
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness gives evidence at Stormont on Wednesday to Stormont's Finance Committee on the controversial sale of Nama's NI assets

Prior to Jamie Bryson’s evidence, MLAs heard from Martin McGuinness who told the inquiry that the DUP and the Irish government had kept him in the dark about many aspects of the NAMA deal.

The Deputy First Minister said he had been “kept in the dark” about a meeting at Stormont Castle between DUP ministers and former US vice-president Dan Quayle.

He said: “I find it incredible that the First Minister did not tell me that a former US vice-president was in Stormont.

“I can’t get my head around that.”

An important Memorandum of Understanding document relating to the NAMA portfolio sale was also sent to the authorities in Dublin without his consent, Mr McGuinness said.

The Memorandum of Understanding was later described by NAMA as a ‘debtors’ charter’ which it said it would never have accepted.

Mr McGuinness was challenged on that important point by the DUP’s Jim Wells, who said that he had a copy of an email which was sent to Mr McGuinness’s then adviser, Dara O’Hagan, several months before the document was sent to Dublin and which he said showed that Sinn Fein knew what was going on.

But Mr McGuinness, who said he was never told of the document until after it had been sent to Dublin by Mr Robinson’s private secretary, said that it could only have legally been sent on behalf of the First and Deputy First Ministers if he or his principal private secretary had signed to authorise it.

In light of Mr McGuinness’s evidence, the committee agreed to call Mr Robinson and he has now agreed to appear before the inquiry.

Some MLAs also expressed concern about a letter which was sent to them by prominent libel lawyer Paul Tweed ahead of yesterday’s hearing.

The committee was told that Mr Tweed said he was representing six individuals but did not state who those individuals are.

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir said it was “wholly unacceptable” for Mr Tweed, who is known to be currently acting for Peter Robinson in a libel action against the TD Mick Wallace, to write to the inquiry expressing reservations about its actions but not state on whose behalf he was acting.

But the DUP’s Jim Wells praised Mr Tweed, saying: “We’re dealing with one of NI’s foremost legal experts” and suggested that his clients had asked not to be named.