Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

NI Water

Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:37am

Tweet So, here’s what the listeners to Radio 4 got this morning on the new Good Beach guide report, picking out Northern Ireland as a noteable weak point in the overall UK figures… .@mickfealty – @BBCr4today puts NI beach water quality stats in context wholly, sadly missing from @BBCNewsNI report — Patrick Corrigan (@PatrickCorrigan) […] more »

G4S: Government’s ideological commitment to using the private sector not matched by proper resources

Fri 12 July 2013, 4:42pm

Tweet Well, first of all Northern Ireland Water have a problem tracking contracts with the private sector. Then the Housing Executive. In the midst of all the rest Northern Irish Primary schools have been let off compulsory testing because a £3 million contract failed to deliver a functionable product. Now it turns out that the […] more »

DRD settles for #NIWater with an apology to Declan Gormley…

Thu 21 February 2013, 6:19pm

Tweet So, we are nearing the end of the story of one of the sacked directors of Northern Ireland Water, Declan Gormley. The implications of this are pretty unequivocal. But before further detailed comment over to the Minister, who stated this afternoon that… …in March 2010 some of the non-executive directors of Northern Ireland Water […] more »

Sinn Fein’s defence borrowing a page from the Scientology play book?

Tue 18 December 2012, 2:15pm

Tweet I’d treat with caution any attempt to estimate the Sinn Fein’s costs, not least because they don’t seem to have gone in to the trial with anything much resembling a case. In disclosure, they offered only copies of the press releases, with one defendant confessing he was a inveterate re-cycler. And as Sam McBride […] more »

Is Sinn Fein really planning to appeal its libel case or just stalling on the pay out?

Tue 18 December 2012, 11:51am

Tweet One of the privileges of having access to lots of money is that you can safely set aside all legal good sense and go for broke. The problem with the idea that the party might appeal a jury verdict from a jury they insisted on having against the judge’s better counsel is that it […] more »

Why did Sinn Fein feel compelled to invent ‘malicious’ untruths about Declan Gormley?

Mon 17 December 2012, 11:43am

Tweet This morning in the High Court, both Sinn Fein’s and Declan Gormley’s counsels will be making their cases on the figure in damages to be reached by the jury in Sinn Fein malicious libel trial. We should have a figure to run with by lunchtime. As Tom Kelly – rather prophetically – warned back […] more »

Sinn Fein defamation of Declan Gormley, and what comes next

Fri 14 December 2012, 5:38pm

Tweet So the news from the Belfast High Court is that a jury has found Sinn Fein guilty of defaming of Declan Gormley, one of four non executive directors of Northern Ireland Water sacked by Sinn Fein’s former DRD minster and Westminster MP, Conor Murphy. The trial took an extraordinary 10 days in court. Ten […] more »

Gormley wins libel case against Sinn Fein

Fri 14 December 2012, 5:31pm

Tweet The BBC reports the jury verdict in Declan Gormley’s, a former non-executive director of NI Water, libel case against Sinn Féin, the party’s Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan, and former assembly member Willie Clarke.  From the BBC report Declan Gormley sued the party over the contents of two press releases it issued in 2011 in support […] more »

UTV DVD “will not satisfy the request for particulars”…

Fri 23 November 2012, 4:27pm

Tweet Sam McBride has had some interesting reports to file on the Declan Gormley hearing. This from yesterday’s proceedings is more bizarre than the last one. What’s at play here is that Gormley’s lawyers are trying to get Sinn Fein’s lawyer’s to specify what evidence they have that Gormley ‘attacked’ their two MLAs… Well worth […] more »

Sinn Féin MLAs to claim ‘qualified privilege’ for press statements in NI Water libel case?

Fri 16 November 2012, 4:53pm

Tweet The BBC reports from Belfast High Court as, former non-executive director in NI Water, Declan Gormley’s libel proceedings against Sinn Féin, the party’s Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan, and former assembly member Willie Clarke, heads to its court date – 26 November.  Apparently, no political party members nor NI Water employees, members and staff […] more »

“the tribunal finds the minister’s evidence is implausible and lacks credibility” [Updated]

Wed 20 June 2012, 7:40pm

Tweet If you thought the controversy around NI Water and the then NI Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, MP, MLA, had gone away, think again.  The BBC reports that an industrial  tribunal has found that Alan Lennon, a Protestant overlooked for the post of chairman of NI Water in March 2011, was discriminated against on […] more »

Ministerial U-turn on NI Water Chief Executive’s terms

Wed 23 November 2011, 2:23pm

Tweet After his very well publicised threat to resign, the acting Chief Executive at Northern Ireland Water, Trevor Haslett, appears to have got what he wanted – a £20,000 pay rise [and a two year contract? - Ed].  From the BBC report A spokeswoman for the Department for Regional Development confirmed the deal. “Northern Ireland Water […] more »

NI Water: Another Chief Executive resignation?

Wed 2 November 2011, 3:41pm

Tweet The BBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick reports that NI Water Chief Executive, Trevor Haslett, has “signalled that he wants to leave and return to private consultancy”.  Haslett has been in the post for almost 10 months, after stepping into the vacancy caused by the defenestration of former Chief Executive Lawrence MacKenzie.  From the BBC report NI Water was created […] more »

The extraordinarily small gene pool for NI Civil Service reviews

Thu 30 June 2011, 3:46pm

Tweet Here’s an interesting snippet. It’s an Assembly Question from Patsy McGlone to Tom Elliott regarding “the independent board of inquiry that was convened to consider the disciplinary charges” against Paul Priestly. It’s interesting for a number of reasons: To ask the First Minister and deputy First Minister, in relation to the independent board of […] more »

Is the Head of the NI Civil Service defending the indefensible?

Fri 17 June 2011, 1:14am

Tweet So to start with we have an empassioned plea from John Dallat, the Northern Ireland Public Accounts Committee’s longest serving member that, according to the News Letter: “that Sir Bruce Robinson be forced to appear before it to explain his decision and said that he wanted an assurance that the committee could scrutinise public […] more »

NI Water: Mr Priestly to return to work, but the issue rumbles on?

Wed 15 June 2011, 1:18pm

Tweet So Mr Priestly, the former Permanent Secretary is to return to work, albeit as a deputy Permanent Secretary. His salary drops from £106,000 down to £92,000. It is not certain where he will be deployed. He was suspended for providing the text of a letter which was subsequently used by to attack the workings of the […] more »

Priestly’s return…

Tue 14 June 2011, 3:46pm

Tweet The Northern Ireland Department of Regional Development Permanent Secretary, Paul Priestly, was suspended on full pay in August last year.  The former Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Assembly, Sir Jon Shortridge, was appointed by the head of the NI Civil Service, Sir Bruce Robinson, to lead the investigation into Priestly’s role in the NI Water saga - […] more »

Declan Gormley launches multiple legal actions…

Thu 21 April 2011, 9:08am

Tweet JUst when you thought it had gone away… Northern Ireland Water comes back. Declan Gormley, having waited for due process to recognise the shoddy manner in which he was dealt. He’s now speaking on Nolan. For clarity, here’s the presser: Former non-executive Director Declan Gormley is threatening new legal action against Minister Murphy and […] more »

Sinn Fein suffers another memory loss at the PAC?

Thu 17 March 2011, 1:42pm

Tweet There’s much to be said about where the PAC’s investigation of NI Water leaves us all. As noted previously there is plenty of material to draw out from the final report. But there’s one wee detail worth noting in passing. Mitchel McLaughlin had this to say on Monday: It was revealed during Ministerial questions […] more »

Was NI Water rolling back poor departmental compliance rates?

Mon 7 March 2011, 11:39am

Tweet The PAC’s report into Northern Ireland Water has to be one of the most comprehensive pieces of research, not only into a publicly owned utility, but into an insider government culture that brooks no dissent and treats whistleblowers with contempt. There is more than enough to keep Slugger going for the next fortnight, and […] more »

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