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Sinn Féin accused of "taking out" Peter Robinson after explosive Nama claims

A report has claimed that a party member was involved in ‘coaching’ a witness.

Peter Robinson has strongly denied the allegations against him. Source: Dominic LipinskiPA Images

SINN FÉIN MLA Daithí McKay has resigned and been suspended from the party amid allegations that he helped ‘coach’ a witness who made serious allegations about Peter Robinson.

The allegations relate to testimony given by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson to a Stormont inquiry about Nama’s dealings in Northern Ireland.

McKay was the chairman of Stormont’s Finance Committee and The Irish News has produced evidence from Twitter exchanges which it claims shows that he organised a back-channel by which Bryson could hone his testimony.

The report states that McKay spoke to Bryson through private messages on Twitter and directed him to another Twitter user with whom Bryson discussed his evidence.

bryson Jamie Bryson speaking before the committee in September. Source: Screenshot

In one of the exchanges with this person, The Irish News reports that Bryson is told on 19 September 2015:

A wee suggestion for your closing paragraph. When talking about Robinson refer to him as ‘Person A’. So say all you have to say about him referring to him as Person A. Then in your final line say: ‘Person A is Peter Robinson MLA.’Means that the committee cannot interrupt you and means that you don’t have to say Robbo’s name until the very last second.

On 23 September 2015, the inquiry heard allegations that DUP leader Peter Robinson was one of five people who received a payment as a result the €1.6 billion sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland portfolio.

Robinson strongly denied the claims, describing them as “scurrilous and unfounded”.

In response to the paper’s allegations, McKay has resigned his elected position and has been suspended from the party, according to Sinn Fein chief whip Caral Ni Chuilin:

Daithi McKay has resigned as MLA for North Antrim with immediate effect and has been suspended from Sinn Fein. His letter of resignation has been submitted to the speaker’s office.

Following the revelations, the UPP has accused Sinn Féin of ‘effectively taking out’ then North Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson. Robinson announced his decision to step down two months after the hearing.

“From the reports this morning, it looks like Sinn Fein effectively took out the then leader of the DUP and First Minister of Northern Ireland,” said UUP leader Mike Nesbitt.

It is political dynamite and indicates that Sinn Fein have run rings around the DUP. Where does this start and where does it end? It demands an investigation because if the information is genuine, it begs the question, was Daithi McKay on a solo run or was it a Sinn Fein operation sanctioned from the top?

Earlier today, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said that he is “entirely satisfied that Sinn Féin had no knowledge” of contact between Bryson and its MLA Daithí McKay.

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Read: Peter Robinson strongly denies explosive new allegations about Nama deal >

Read: Mick Wallace and Clare Daly launch Nama whistleblowing website >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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