Farry says Bryson/Sinn Fein revelations cast real doubt over Nama inquiry

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry has said revelations Sinn Fein ‘coached’ Jamie Bryson ahead of his evidence session to the Assembly on Nama has “cast real doubt” over the entire inquiry process.

North Down MLA Dr Farry was speaking after newspaper allegations that the then Chair of Stormont’s Finance Committee, Daithi McKay, arranged a Sinn Fein back channel to the loyalist to tell him how to approach his evidence session earlier this year, including precisely how to make allegations against former First Minister Peter Robinson and when Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir would step in with his questions during the session.

Dr Farry said the disclosure was “incredibly telling” for both Sinn Fein and Mr Bryson.

“Prior to Mr Bryson’s appearance at the Nama evidence inquiry session, Alliance expressed concern over the potential for his evidence to consist of hearsay, politically motivated or that it would be otherwise unreliable and could possibly prejudice any police investigation. This revelation vindicates that caution.

“It is clear from the evidence produced today by the media that Sinn Fein’s consideration of advice to the Committee on the admissibility of Mr Bryson’s evidence was politically tainted, as Sinn Fein were actively coaching him as a potential witness about the best way to get in front of the committee and place his allegations regarding Peter Robinson on the record.

“Sinn Fein has questions to answer – this story calls into question their actions then and now. While it may not have compromised the actual content of Mr Bryson’s evidence, it was nevertheless a transparent attempt to manipulate the decisions of MLAs on the Committee.

“Alliance believes these allegations are incredibly serious and need to be fully investigated. People want and rightly expect full accountability. But the investigations and inquiries have to be deliberate and professional – heavy-handed interference is counter-productive to democracy.”

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