Minister Noonan refutes certain findings of the PAC Report on Project Eagle
The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan T.D., today noted the publication of the final report by the Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts on the sale by NAMA of its Northern Ireland loan book, a process known as Project Eagle.
Minister Noonan and the Department of Finance have at all times cooperated with the Committee and have provided a large amount of supporting documentation to the Committee. Minister Noonan also voluntarily appeared before the Committee for over five hours in October of last year, a decision which was largely unprecedented.
Speaking today following the publication of the report, the Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan T.D. said:
“Following leaks of a draft PAC working document last month, I wrote to the Chair of the PAC highlighting my concerns surrounding the leaking of information and what appeared to be unfounded claims contained therein. I note that my letter has been included with the report. It is disappointing that unjustified and unfounded views have made their way into the final iteration.”
“I refute absolutely the validity of any suggestion that I or my officials acted inappropriately in meeting with Cerberus in March 2014. At no point was I or my officials invited to discuss this meeting at the PAC nor was the alleged impropriety of this meeting raised in follow-up correspondence. The note of the meeting with Cerberus is on the Department of Finance’s website and is clear in stating that any issue relating to NAMA should be raised directly with NAMA.”
“It is entirely appropriate that I as Minister for Finance would meet with the Chairman of a major international investment fund, a former US Secretary of the Treasury no less, at his request whilst he was in Dublin on business. This is part of the job of a Minister for Finance.”
“Finally, I should note that when I appeared before the Committee in October of last year, much of the discussion revolved around whether I should have intervened to put an end to the Project Eagle sales process. I welcome the fact that the PAC accepted my evidence regarding this issue, and in doing so has recognised the clear legal separation between the Minister for Finance and NAMA's commercial operations. As I stated at the time, I as Minister had no role, and have no role in relation to individual transactions and I am pleased that the PAC report has not suggested otherwise.”
“I will be reviewing the report over the coming days. I understand that the report will be debated in the Dáil next week and I look forward to making a full contribution to that debate.”
Tuesday 14th March 2017
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Notes for Editors:
The note of the meeting held between the Minister for Finance and John Snow who is a former Secretary of the Treasury of the USA and is also involved with Cerberus was published on the website of the Department of Finance in November 2016 in connection with the Minister’s voluntary appearance before the PAC and is available here:
The report of the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis recommended that the Department’s Banking Division should be periodically subjected to a performance review by an independent third party to ensure fiscal, capital market and banking expertise is adequate to challenge information and assumptions provided to it. The Department of Finance has over the past number of years brought that expertise in-house and with the benefit of that expertise maintains an open and constructive dialogue with a wide range of market participants to help inform the Department and the Minister.