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Finance Minister insists he has ‘no questions to answer’

Finance Minister Maírtín Ó Muilleoir Photo: Pacemaker

Stormont Finance Minister Maírtín Ó Muilleoir has insisted he has no questions to answer over a party colleague's controversial contact with a witness to an inquiry examining Northern Ireland's biggest property deal.

Mr Ó Muilleoir said he was "totally chill-axed" about attempts to link him to the controversy that forced the resignation of Daithí McKay, the former Sinn Féin chair of the Finance Committee.

Mr McKay apologised and quit as a North Antrim MLA after private Twitter messages published in the press showed him communicating with loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson ahead of his appearance before the committee's inquiry into the Nama loans deal.

Sinn Féin worker Thomas O'Hara was also suspended by the party, accused of coaching Mr Bryson before he made explosive claims to the finance committee about the efforts of Ireland’s bank for bad loans to dispose of its Northern Ireland portfolio to US investors.

Whether I am mentioned two times or 200 times, I had no knowledge of the communications.

– Finance Minister Maírtín Ó Muilleoir

Mr Ó Muilleoir insisted: “I had no knowledge of the communications, no hand, act or part in the correspondence or exchange between Misters Bryson, O’Hara and McKay.”

During a lengthy appearance before the Assembly's finance scrutiny committee, the Sinn Féin minister repeatedly batted away questions from DUP chairwoman Emma Pengelly.

He said: “What part of no involvement with, no part in, no knowledge of does the committee, with all due respect, not understand?”

  • WATCH: UTV's Vicki Hawthorne reports on the developments

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