Updated: 21/09/16 : 06:41:14
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Finance minister to appear before PAC

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has agreed to attend the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions about the National Asset Management Agency's controversial Project Eagle sale of property in Northern Ireland.

The invitation was made by the PAC to the minister following the Comptroller and Auditor Generalís report into Project Eagle, which was published last week.

In a statement, Mr Noonan said: "I have today decided to accept the invitation of the Committee of Public Accounts to assist the Committee in its examination of the C&AG's Special Report on the National Asset Management Agency's sale of Project Eagle.

"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."

Speaking to RT… News, PAC chairman Sean Fleming said if Mr Noonan accepted the invitation, he wanted to assure Mr Noonan that he would be questioned strictly in connection with the sale process, saying the questioning will be strictly kept to the mechanics of the sale process and the minister's involvement in it.

"He is one of the links in the chain in relation to this sale process," said Mr Fleming.

"He was involved in correspondence personally; he was involved in personal phone calls on the matter.

"I do want to assure the minister, and I as chairman of the PAC know fully the remit of the committee, we will not be straying into governmental decisions; policy issues by the department.

"We will keep it strictly to the mechanics of the sale process and the involvement of the minister in the sale process," he added.