Michael Noonan to appear before Dáil committee to discuss Project Eagle sale

Minister to be quizzed following damning report into NAMA's biggest ever property deal

Coalition, Shane Ross, Taoiseach, Independent Alliance, Enda Kenny, government, vote, Michael Noonan

Fiannce Minister Michael Noonan in Brussels | Image: © European Union

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed he will appear before the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to discuss NAMA's sale of Project Eagle. 

In a statement this evening, Mr Noonan said he had accepted the committee's invitation to assist its examination of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) report into the deal. 

"I intend to reply by letter to the Committee of Public Accounts to confirm this and to request assurances from the committee that the proceedings of the committee will be conducted in line with its terms of reference," he said.

The C&AG review concluded that the sale of NAMA's Northern Irish loan book to US firm Cerberus led to a loss of around €222 million to the Irish taxpayer. The agency denies the finding.  

PAC chairman Seán Fleming has said that the findings show there was a "significant deviation" from the agency's normal marketing and sales process.

Mr Noonan's announcement comes after repeated calls by opposition leaders for him to explain his knowledge of the transaction before the PAC. The hearing is likely to take place in the first week of October.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD tonight welcomed the decision, which she said followed "a weekend of stalling".

The Fine Gael TD must explain why he did not suspend the sale when NAMA became aware of the operation of fixer fees, she said. 

"Minister Noonan now needs to open the books, assist the PAC inquiry, and not engage in further prevarication."

It was confirmed last week that a statutory inquiry will be established to look into the handling of Project Eagle.