Stormont engaging in ‘ostrich politics’ over Nama allegations

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt criticises parliament for not discussing Project Eagle deal

Ulster Unionist leader and leader of the opposition at Stormont Mike Nesbitt, had tabled Nama as his “matter of the day” but this was not been accepted for discussion. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Ulster Unionist leader and leader of the opposition at Stormont Mike Nesbitt, had tabled Nama as his “matter of the day” but this was not been accepted for discussion. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA

 

The Ulster Unionist Party has accused Stormont of a “head in the sand ostrich approach” over its refusal to address recent allegations about the National Asset Management Agency’s Project Eagle deal.

According to a BBC Spotlight programme broadcast last week Nama’s former Northern Ireland adviser Frank Cushnahan had been secretly recorded accepting a £40,000 (€48,000) cash payment from a Nama borrower.

In the aftermath Ulster Unionist leader and leader of the opposition at Stormont Mike Nesbitt, had tabled Nama as his “matter of the day” but this was not been accepted for discussion.

On Monday, the first day of business after the Stormont summer recess, Mr Nesbitt expressed his “deep frustration” that the Assembly would not be discussing Nama.

“To read today’s running order you would never know that the UK has voted to leave the EU, or that an MLA was forced to resign over how he behaved as chair of a statutory committee, or that a man the DUP appointed to Nama’s NI Advisory Panel appears to have accepted £40,000 cash in a clear conflict of interest,” he said.

Bad light

Mr Nesbitt believes failure to address such matters are “ostrich politics” and the refusal to discuss the “big issues that have arisen over the summer” casts Stormont in a bad light.

He added: “I am disappointed we were unsuccessful in requesting the first day back began with a short debate on the latest Nama allegations.

“This head in the sand ostrich approach does nothing to protect the integrity or relevance of the institutions under the control of DUP/Sinn Féin.”

The speaker Robin Newton (DUP) decides whether a “matter of the day” is accepted and debated. In this case his decision was not to accept the UUP proposal.