“As soon as I was in receipt of that legal advice, both external and internal..”

If anyone was thinking that the weekend would see a calming of the fractious Executive they can think again. The Northern Ireland Finance minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, has added to the comments made on Thursday by the Deputy First Minister, SF’s Martin McGuinness, and accused the Social Development minister, the SDLP’s Margaret Ritchie, of lying about passing on the legal advice. As with the earlier comments, close attention may be required to the detail of what is being said. Adds More of that advice here.From the Irish Times report

Mr Robinson deepened divisions today accusing Ms Ritchie of having lied about passing him the legal advice she obtained prior to making her decision to cut funding.

He quoted Ms Ritchie of stating on BBC TV: “I am very clear that I agreed and the Executive agreed on Monday night of last week that I was to obtain legal advice and share it with the First and Deputy First Minister and also the Finance Minister.

“As soon as I was in receipt of that legal advice, both external and internal, I supplied it to those three individuals.”

But firing his fresh broadside, Mr Robinson said: “This is a lie. Firstly no legal advice was handed over to be me before it was announced on Monday that the DSD minister was making statement to the Assembly. I first heard she was making a statement through the press.”

He said that on hearing she was making a statement he sent her a letter asking for the legal advice she had undertaken to supply, and claimed “some” pieces of the advice was passed to his office.

Mr Robinson said the dates on the documentation showed Ms Ritchie had been holding some of the advice for a week without passing it on.

I’d suggest that the “some of the advice” being referred to would be the internal advice… which would make the following line pivotal to the accusation.

“As soon as I was in receipt of that legal advice, both external and internal, I supplied it to those three individuals.” [added emphasis]

Also worth noting is the BBC report’s final line on those contested minutes

This, [Mr Robinson] says, is regardless of last week’s controversy over the minutes of an executive meeting on the matter.


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