Northern Ireland

Nama NI deal: Cross-border deal proposed for inquiries

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is based in the Republic of Ireland's Treasury Building in Dublin
Image caption The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is based in the Republic of Ireland's Treasury Building in Dublin

The man leading Dublin's inquiry into the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland loan book has proposed a cross-border collaboration with the Belfast probe.

In 2014, the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) made the biggest property deal in Northern Ireland's history.

But it has been mired in controversy and both Stormont and the Dáil (Irish Parliament) began separate inquiries.

The Dublin inquiry's chairman wants a deal in which the two inquiry teams ask questions on each other's behalf.

The Nama investigations are being conducted by Stormont's finance committee and the Dáil's public accounts committee (PAC).

However, neither committee has the power to compel witnesses from outside their jurisdiction to testify.

PAC chair Seán Fleming told broadcaster RTÉ the proposal would mean witnesses called before the PAC could be asked questions drawn up by the Stormont committee.

In turn, PAC members could submit questions for Stormont MLAs to put to its witnesses.

Mr Fleming will ask PAC members to endorse the plan at its meeting next week.

The Nama deal is also the subject of investigations by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and the FBI.

Last week, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, said a cross-border inquiry should begin when criminal investigations conclude.

But First Minister Arlene Foster rejected the call, saying a cross-border inquiry was "not appropriate" and the NCA was the appropriate organisation to investigate.

Both Nama and the US investment fund that bought the loan portfolio have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

More on this story