SDLP Justice Spokesperson Alex Attwood MLA has asked why Sinn Féin is committed to giving the DUP a soft landing on NAMA by resisting an Assembly statement from the First and deputy First Ministers.
And he asked why is Sinn Fein resisting calls for a joint NCA/PSNI and an Garda Síochána investigation team into criminal allegations relating to the Project Eagle sale.
Speaking after an Opposition Day debate in the Assembly, he said:
“Today’s debate is about accountability around NAMA – will there be more or will there be less?
“The DUP used the recent opinion of the NCA as a smokescreen to resist accountability. They say it is “bizarre” for more inquiry given the NCA advice. But there was a criminal investigation at the same time as the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and there may well be a Dublin Commission of investigation as the NCA continues its work.
“The line between a criminal inquiry and a separate investigation can be properly and successfully navigated. The DUP know this. Their resistance is to accountability – nothing more and nothing less.
“The question for Sinn Fein is – why give the DUP a soft landing on NAMA? The SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party, Alliance, Green Party and Independents called for the First Minister and deputy First Minister to make ‘a statement to the Assembly’. Not a big ask.
“Yet the Sinn Féin deleted ‘Assembly’ from the motion and called for a statement only. It seems some want to rush to the sound of clicking cameras rather than the hard questions of MLAs on the floor of the Assembly.
“Why would Sinn Féin give the DUP a soft landing and avoid an Assembly statement? It seems that non-aggression between the DUP and Sinn Fein now extends to NAMA.
“Equally, the SDLP, Ulster Unionists, Alliance, Green party and Independents urged consideration of an all-Ireland criminal investigation. Yet Sinn Fein, who claim to promote all-Ireland, resisted such an approach.
“What was this all about? An all-Ireland criminal investigation would be a first but a good first.
“What has anyone to fear now or in the future? Why would Sinn Féin resist such a strong approach?
“There was a position of strength in the Ulster Unionist motion and the SDLP amendment, yet Sinn Fein sought to dilute its impact. No joint First Minister/deputy First Minister statement to the Assembly, no NCA/Gardai joint criminal investigation.
“The DUP joined with Sinn Féin on their NAMA amendment because it was the least worst option for them and offered the least transparency for the public.”