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Stephen Nolan under fire for asking how 'Portglenone plasterer' would know Stormont inner workings

Published 19/08/2016

Broadcaster Stephen Nolan
Broadcaster Stephen Nolan
Daithi McKay has resigned over Jamie Bryson coaching allegations
Thomas O’Hara

BBC radio presenter Stephen Nolan has come under fire for questioning how a plasterer from the small Co Antrim village of Portglenone would know how a Stormont committee would work.

Daithi McKay was forced to resign as North Antrim MLA following claims he was involved in helping to coach the loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson.

Leaked Twitter messages appeared to show how Mr McKay and another Sinn Fein member Thomas O'Hara instructed Bryson on what to say for his submission to the finance committee's hearing on the Nama property scandal.

They included detailed messages on explaining the inner workings of a Stormont committee with instructions to ensure Mr Bryson's testimony was as devastating as possible.

More: Daithi McKay resignation over Jamie Bryson coaching claims: Watch Sinn Fein spin doctor Thomas O'Hara's ambitions captured in bizarre video

And on Stephen Nolan's BBC Radio Ulster morning show on Friday, the presenter asked how Mr O'Hara - a plasterer from Portglenone - could know in detail how a committee could work.

He said: "There is a plasterer from Portglenone who had a detailed knowledge of how a finance committee works and would work in the future and that liaisons was with a loyalist.

"I'm suggesting there would not be a significant number of plasterers who would have that detail of knowledge of how a committee works. I'm not suggesting he is stupid.

"I don't think there would be too many journalists who would have detailed knowledge of how that finance committee works.  There would not be too many, dentists, teachers, lawyers that would know.

"So it is relevant to ask if it was really a plasterer from Portglenone who was communicating with Jamie Bryson?"

One caller, Martin, asked if the presenter would think it possible a plasterer from Portglenone - or anywhere - would know how a Stormont finance committee works.

Nolan responded: "Of course it is possible. But not many would."


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