Paisley Minor lobbies for millionaire developer – again…

SOMETIMES I wonder why Seymour Sweeney (centre) doesn’t just give Ian Paisley Minor (left) a job and be done with it – but then a colleague pointed out that you couldn’t buy representation like the junior minister offers for, if you believe him, nothing but the good of his constituents and the country. By sheer coincidence, in the latest Paisley squirmathon, the junior minister’s representations seem to work out in an incredibly positive way for his old mate, property developer and fellow party member (non-donating, although the wife has a great cottage you might be interested in) Mr Sweeney. Maximising the value of vested land in Ballymena for sale to Mr Sweeney and co. might be in the public interest – and quite possibly Mr Paisley’s own constituents – but strangely isn’t as profitable for property developers you might ‘know of’. Sir Alistair Graham, former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, reckons: ‘There are a whole range of issues where he (Mr Paisley) needs to be totally transparent of what his links and interests are with this man (Sweeney). And if he doesn’t make those interests clear then he is in danger of being accused of acting improperly.’ Now whatever gave him that idea

  • Danny O’Connor

    So know we know why the DSD are being forced to sell land to plug the funding gaps in their draft budget allocation by ipj’s colleague in finance.

  • Danny O’Connor

    How much has this little escapade cost the N.Ireland executive in lost revenue-the same amount that the developers make.Are Ministers not supposed to act for the good of the people of N.Ireland as a whole rather than their own narrow constituency issues-if that isn’t in the ministerial code, it should be.

  • SpawnofSeymour

    wow. he looks exactly like my gran.

  • GavBelfast

    It would have added a new twist to the whole thing if the one in the middle of that picture really was Nell McCafferty. Uncanny likeness, what?

  • joeCanuck

    Does anyone believe for a second that this fine upstanding young gentleman would still be a Minister if his Daddy wasn’t the First Minister? Or that his political career will long survive Daddy’s retirement or demise?
    Anyone?

  • fedup

    How much more do we have to put up with until Paisley junior is finally fired out on his arse?

  • red branch

    So he spoke to the majority of the developers involved, did you speak to Seymour Sweeney? – I spoke to the majority of the developers.

    Do you know Seymour Sweeney – I know of him.

    Did IPJ never go to church, did his minister never preach on that passage “let your yes be yes and your no be no!”

    this guy is incredible.

    So some new questions – only the obvious ones, are any of the other developers members of the DUP?

    Are any of the former owners members of the DUP?

    and

    Will the DUP gain financially from any individual involved in this matter?

    As has been said many times before, in any other democratic country with any pride in it government or administration IPJ would have resigned to spend more time with his family – but he does that at the office anyway.

    but then again we’re not a normal democratic society and who’s going to sack IPJ his da – I don’t think so!

  • Nevin

    BG, here are some of Junior’s quotes:

    “There are six businessmen involved in all of this case” (repeated several times)

    “if Mr Sweeney contacted me, of course I did2 (surely they’re on first name terms by now)

    “I have no idea in terms of the business agreement that is in place between my constituents and their business partners … I’m not privy to any of that, don’t want to be privy to any of that”

    I googled with “sweeney ballee” and came up with this (delivered:12/06/2006) and this (Delivered: 16/02/2007) i.e. there has only been one developer in the relationship since February – Junior’s long term associate, Seymour Sweeney, yet Junior continues to fixate on six.

    Who were the Six?

    “Covenantors” means each of B J Eastwood, Kevin Lagan, Seamus McCloy, Seymour H Sweeney, R John Walker Snr and Thomas Wilson

    It was down to Five by May, 2004.

    “The members of the consortium were to comprise the appellant and the respondents together with Mr B J Eastwood who subsequently decided not to participate. The solicitors produced a document which was sent to the parties at the end of April 2004, the solicitors stressing that there would be no further amendments to it. It was to be signed by noon on 5 May 2004.”

    It was down to One by February, 2007.

    Who were the solicitors who produced what subsequently turned out not to be a binding agreement?

    When the agreements with the former owners were completed it was agreed that the appellants’ solicitors should be instructed to draw up a written contract to record what had been agreed between the proposed members of the consortium.

    The appellant was Seymour Sweeney so were the solicitors, er, Carson McDowell? If so, is there a sufficient separation between property developers and their solicitors and (very) senior civil servants – not to say, ministers?

    Junior, apparently, was not privy to any of this …

    Should the former owners of the land be concerned about the security of their percentage ‘cut’?

  • Nevin

    And a little bit more:

    MINUTES OF PERMANENT SECRETARY GROUP MEETING
    HELD ON FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2007
    BOARD ROOM, CLARE HOUSE
    AT 8.45 AM

    Smithsonian
    Alan Shannon said his Minister would attend the Smithsonian event.
    UPRG
    Alan also reported on Ulster Political Research Group.
    Ballee Lands
    Alan Shannon said agreement had been reached on sale of land at Ballee.”

    And the percentage was established by 2003.

    During November 2003 Mr Walker and Mr Sweeney entered into contracts with a number of the former owners of the land who claimed to be entitled to a right of pre-emption. These contracts were intended to provide support for the pre-owners in establishing this right and in return they were to exercise their rights and sell the land to Messrs Walker and Sweeney for the consideration they had agreed with the Department plus 10%. ..

    8.7. The Parties agree that the Project Manager shall appoint appropriate professionals to enable the Company to obtain valid planning permission for the Property.

    Were the same professionals involved at Ballyallaght?

  • Daisy

    The fact that he doesn’t feel the need to resign shouldn’t surprise anyone. The man has more front than the western front. We can only hope the voters kick him out at the next election, because the Executive and his party seem to be incapable of acting against him.

  • Nevin

    Daisy, Carmel Hanna (SDLP) chairs the Standards and Privileges Committee but she and her colleagues seem to have taken a vow of silence.

  • Rory

    “Resign to spend more time with his family”?

    Such a prospect must be a very daunting one for the poor family and not likely to cheer up their mood approaching Christmas.

    Me? I’d run away from home at the very thought.

  • Daisy

    “she and her colleagues seem to have taken a vow of silence”

    So it would appear, nevin. Maybe they have a parcel of land they need to sell quickly 😉

  • PeaceandJustice

    Daisy – “the Executive and his party seem to be incapable of acting against him.”

    I thought this was the sort of Government Pan-Nationalists wanted – no opposition. We need to move to proper Government after this transition period is over.

    I’ve no problem people asking Ian Paisley Jnr questions. But Pan-Nationalists are not interested in what land has been bought by Sinn Fein IRA using money from bank robberies, extortion, drugs, fuel laundering etc. If Pan-Nationalists are to be taken seriously, then the code of silence regarding Sinn Fein IRA criminality needs to end – and the land bought by dirty money needs to be exposed.

  • Nevin

    “I’ve no problem people asking Ian Paisley Jnr questions.”

    What additional questions would you like Junior to answer, P&J;?

  • sevenmagpies

    “you couldn’t buy representation like the junior minister offers”

    The original family/business offer for the land was £9m and now they will have to pay £50m. What’s ‘representation’ like that worth exactly?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Resign, resign, resign.

  • red branch

    Folks this is amazing stuff, if nevin is right and if I understand what he is saying, then there is no consortium, the only person that IPJ could have been talking with was Sweeney. So when IPJ deliberately refused to confirm that he had spoken to Sweeney and insisted on the ‘the majority of the developers’ terminology then he was ….

    I assume being caught out again must mean someone in the DUP with integrity will stand up asn say – enough is enough.

  • Nevin

    It’s a bit more (complicated) than that, 7m.

    “The price to be paid to the former owners by the appellant and Mr Walker was to be the Department’s valuation with an uplift of 10%.” (‘more’ links above)

  • Nevin

    Red Branch, you’d think there would be a conflict of interest if the same solicitors represented both the consortium and one of its members.

    Perhaps the Law Society of Northern Ireland should carry out an examination of this case …

  • Nevin

    “At one point, after the department had suggested a £75m figure, he [Ian ‘I know of him’ Paisley] wrote to Ms Ritchie accusing it of presenting ‘extortionate’ valuations and ‘taking his constituents for a ride’.” BBC

    As I understand it, the ‘constituents’ would pay nothing, they’d collect 10%, whereas the developer would cough up the department figure plus 10%.

  • Nevin

    It’s been a nice little earner for the Project Manager:

    8.2. The business of the Consortium as set out above shall be managed by the Project Manager who shall be paid a fee of £50,000 (paid annually for each year or part thereof) together with expenses (which expenses shall include fees of £25,000 (paid annually for each year or part thereof) for Mr John Walker junior as assistant project manager). The Fees of the Project Manager and the assistant project manager to be increased each year in line with inflation.

    And who was the Project Manager?

    “the Project Manager” Sweeney or, if so nominated by Sweeney, Seaport Investments, Limited;

    It appears there were no pecuniary benefits for Junior …

  • PeaceandJustice

    Nevin – “What additional questions would you like Junior to answer, P&J;?”

    As it seems to be your obsession, I don’t think I need to add to the questions. However, what questions would you like to ask Sinn Fein IRA about their purchase of land and property with the proceeds of crime?

  • ulsterfan

    As I understand it the deal has not been signed and delivered.
    If this is the case can Margaret Ritchie not put a halt to it and start all over again.
    Every thing has a price even 100 acres of land on the outskirts of Ballymena.
    To test the valuation I would have thought a public auction with a high reserve would be in order and if this fell apart no harm would be done as land is finite and another opportunity will come along at a later date when it could be sold at what we would then know to be market value.

  • How come all the really smart guys work for the property developers and not the Government apart from Ian Paisley jr. He works for us.

  • Rory

    As to any costs arising on the award of this project to whomever and whether or not they might fall on Mr Paisley Jr.’s constituents or on the department – there really is no need for alarm. The bulk of any costs resulting in incompetence, failure of oversight, oppositional dereliction of duty or indeed, plain old corruption will fall on the British Treasury via the subvention.

    So perhaps in that short term between the model of “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and ” the United Democracy of Ireland” (or “of the Irish Peoples” or whatever nominature is devised for an “agreed” United Ireland within the EEC) we might take advantage of a sort of Buggin’s Turn of corruption whereby ministers from all parties get a chance at a good bung (sorry, I mean “retirement opportunity”). Might we not?

  • Chuckle Vision

    Is Junior also one of God’s businessmen?

  • Rory

    I don’t know, Chuckle, if he is as yet of the order of the Great Provider but he most certainly is behaving like a businessman’s blessed provider.

  • Alex S

    Why does he insist in giving vague answers when any half wit would realise that the interviewer already has the answer, is it stupidty or arogance, he really isn’t fit for office?

  • Nevin

    Alex, perhaps Ms Purdy will provide additional background information in tonight’s news. Her contribution last night lacked the punch evident in the Nolan show and on Spotlight. She could have invited Junior to name the Six – and then to say when Eastwood and the others ‘departed’ – and why.

  • joeCanuck

    Hypothetically, if a government Minister was in thrall to a property developer to the extent that he acted against the public interest, might it not be that he is not venal and corrupt, but simply as thick as two short planks, a few bricks short of a load, not the sharpest knife in the drawer and so on..

    Bet Barber Todd can’t get enough of those Lovett pastries.

  • Intelligence Insider

    P&J;,
    You really are evading the questions here, we all know about sf/ira involvement in crime. Trying to avoid DUP involvement in crime makes them look every bit as guilty.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Can you remember that film that elton john did the music for -the lion king-well now they are making a sequel called the lion bast***s-anybody got any suggestions for the cast.

  • snakebrain

    Anybody heard anything about the Standards committee looking into the Paisley-Sweeney relationship?

  • Nevin

    Mr O’Loan is seeking a full examination of the issue, and has submitted a letter to both OFMDFM and the Assembly Committee on Standards.”

  • wary35

    And wait until the press gets hold of the collusion between DRD and Mr O driscoll bidding for the Rathlin Ferry Tender.
    Actualy went as far as approaching c-Mal (subsidiary company of Calmac who currently run and have retendered for the route) to buy a boat for him.(DOH)
    Calmac started to ask questions and despite the DRD making arrangements on 29/11/07 to announce the successful bidder on 08/12/07, they suddenly abandoned the tendering process!!!
    They stated that “the panel concluded that none of the bids offered a most economically advantageous solution in terms of affordabilty and compliance with requirement”.

    Oh and the departmrnts Marine consultanlt was present at a meeting with another vessel owner when an attempt was made to purchase it.
    So far the Department are trying to cover up and apparently “do not want this to get as far as parliamentary questions”
    Ahem, Calmc owned by Scottish Executive, who are probably not the clowns we have here!!!