15/09/2016

C&AG Report Raises Issues Needing Further Investigation - Taoiseach

The C&AG report on the sale of Project Eagle, NAMA's Northern Irish loanbook, raises a number of important issues which the government acknowledges require further investigation, the Taoiseach has said.

In a statement released on his website, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the Public Accounts Committee is an appropriate forum for consideration of the C&AG report and for the exercise of public accountability in these matters.

The Taoiseach said: "The Government expects that the PAC will wish to convene a public hearing at an early date. It would welcome such a public hearing and will offer any support that the PAC needs in the conduct of its inquiries.

"The Government also recognises that it has its own responsibilities to ensure that all matters of public concern with regard to the functions of an important public body such as NAMA are fully addressed.

The statement commits the Taoiseach to invite Opposition party leaders meet him to seek agreement on the issues of public concern that require further investigation and the most appropriate nature and terms of reference for such an investigation. Subject to the outcome of those discussions, the matter will then be the subject of a Dáil debate early in the new session.

Commenting on the same C&AG report, Labour Spokesperson on Health, Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Vice-Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Alan Kelly welcomed the decision of Government to publish the Report.

"It is imperative that the inquiry commences at the earliest possible juncture. Obviously the Public Accounts Committee will thoroughly analyse and probe the C&AG Report in detail commencing at our meeting next week but a full inquiry of investigation into Project Eagle and NAMA is now required," Deputy Kelly said.

"The Government needs to do everything possible to ensure that there is a cross-border dimension to any inquiry given the information that is now in the public domain. The Taoiseach needs to communicate strongly to both the First Minister and Deputy First Minister the necessity of such a cross-border dimension.

It is critically important that an inquiry is set up quickly to preserve documentation that already exists and in future to be able to compel witnesses.

"It is vital that the Government come to a decision quickly on what shape their inquiry will form as the issue of hundreds of millions of euro lost in the process of Project Eagle is of huge concern to our taxpayers.

(MH/LM)

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