Too busy watching Sky Sports?

A Belfast Telegraph investigation has revealed financial mismanagement at the Parades Commission. These problems included no competitive tendering, significant cost over-runs on their PR contract, a contract awarded to a Commission member and just for fun a subscription to SKy Sports.PS Apologies for lack of blogging marriage arrangements have got the priority at the moment.

  • A story from the ill-fated Daily Ireland.
    The Parades Commission seems to be the quango to end all quangos.

    Politicians have called on the Parades Commission to explain why more than £55,000 (€79,000) of public money has been spent over a four-year period on providing taxis, dinners and accommodation for its chairman.
    Daily Ireland has learned that since 2001, Anthony Holland’s expenses total more than those of the six other commission members put together.
    Around £51,000 (€73,000) has been spent on renting a Belfast apartment for the 66-year-old solicitor during his visits to the North, while a further £4,000 (€5,762) was spent on taxis and meals.
    A single taxi taken by Mr Holland on July 7, 2002 cost the public £230 (€330), while two taxi journeys to and from unnamed airports on February 17 and July 24, 2003, totalled £293 (€421).
    The Parade’s Commission Chairman’s eating costs were also expensive. A dinner on August 28, 2002, cost £133 (€191), while a meal on May 1, 2003, cost £55 (€79).
    Between March 2001 and June 2004, Mr Holland took 50 taxis costing a total of £3,326 (€4,786). This works out at an average of £66 (€94) per taxi ride.
    Although the commission’s other members have made travel claims in excess of £20,000 (€28,000) since 2001 they are for miles travelled in their own cars.
    Only one other member, university lecturer John Cousins, used public cash to pay for taxis. This was on July 4, 2002, and again on January 5, 2003, when he used £424 (€610) to pay for two taxi journeys, two air fares and light refreshments.
    Daily Ireland was given details of the Parades Commission members’ expenses following a Freedom of Information request.
    Sinn Féin Assemblyman Alex Maskey said that the public would be extremely concerned by Mr Holland’s spending.
    “People in public life should be held accountable and the Parades Commission should make public the full list of expenses,” Mr Maskey said.
    Democratic Unionist Party MLA Nelson McCausland said the public would be surprised at Mr Holland’s use of taxpayers’ money.
    “The Parades Commission has a responsibility to explain in full the details of Sir Anthony Holland’s expenses so people can understand why public money was used in such a fashion,” he said.
    The Parades Commission last night declined to comment on Mr Holland’s taxi fare expenditure or the expenses of other members.
    Mr Holland owns properties in both London and Cornwall and has to travel to the North from these locations for Parades Commission meetings.
    The commission was set up in 1997 to deal with the issue of contentious parades.
    In recent weeks its decisions concerning loyalist marches have come under fire from both nationalist and unionist politicians.
    Mr Holland took over the chairmanship of the group in February 2000.
    Prior to this he held a number of senior posts on various powerful committees throughout Britain.
    Mr Holland, along with the commission’s six other members are unelected. They were appointed to their roles by the Northern Ireland Office.
    The Parades Commission members are Anthony Holland, John Cousins, Rev Roy Magee, Billy Martin, Peter Osborne, John Pringle and Peter Quinn.

  • Yokel

    Sky Sports, big deal…irrelevant.

    Its the other stuff that people should be looking at.