Something stinks in OFMDFM…

DESPITE all the talk about not enough funding for the devolved government, its scrutiny committees have warned the Executive over an underspend of between £113m and £115m over the past three years. While the previous direct rulers can be blamed, maybe the money could be put towards something ‘useful’, like funding the adminstration costs for Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness’s office, which have more than doubled. Next year’s underspend might include the £8 million that the First Ministers’ office allocated for a Victim’s Commissioner, which was supposed to be in place by the end of last year. Maybe the money could be spent on more OFMDFM advisers? Perhaps ones that the First Ministers will listen to, as they chose to ignore the advice civil servants gave them not to run a second search for a Victim’s Commissioner. Paisley said the first trawl did not stick to the principles of merit, but a Freedom of Information request reveals that the Commissioner for Public Appointments told Mr Paisley the first phase of recruitment was “well run”. I doubt the CPA was spoofing, as the interim vicitms’ commissioner’s appointment had been a favour to Paisley’s party, clearly abandoning all such principles, and there was something to prove this time to regain public confidence. Surely our Godly First Minister hasn’t been economical with the truth?

  • Wohw, who could imagine that such a fractious, almost farcical government could manage to not go incredibly over budget, let alone coming in under cost, and, does this speak of a newly prudent Northern Ireland in regard to public funds (yea right).

  • They could start with guaranteeing funding for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, cut by the Culture Minister, Edwin Poots, from 2009, in one of his shortsighted Scrooge-like moments. (Not to mention putting his petty party politics over the good of all the people of the North!).

    In the next week or so the Oscar short lists will be announced and an Irish language film funded by the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Kings, stands a good chance of being nominated on the short list for the Best Foreign Language Film award. Imagine the red – or Orange – faces at Interpoint if that happens as their minister cuts the fund which led to this unexpected Oscar success for NI?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Give it to DSD to build houses!

  • biko

    There are many many things that stink about OFMDFM this is simply one of them.

    I have no problem with Paisley et al having a Road to Damascus conversion in regard to dealing with, cooperating and indeed chuckling with Sinn Fein, it was long over due.

    What I cannot believe is that they are anything but:-

    *Morlaistic but with a distinct lack of morals themselves
    *Powered at least 60% on pure nepotism
    *Sectarian tribalists
    *Open to favours for favours- ‘Junior’ is just the latest example, but who bought and developed all that Castlereagh land?

    And lets not forget their new found talent making them propagandaists with extreme tendencies towards revisionism…most of us arent buying it!

    I am a Unionist with very few voting options! I want a new party, but a proper one, not that Allister balls up lot.

    How about an Ulster Unionist Party of about 1997 with David Ervine as leader (without the record) and a social consious…….I dream, but there is the market for a new Party and that will only grow as the DUP continue to show their true colours and the UUP drive towards self destruction.

  • maggie

    It is not logical to blame this government for an underspend total for the last three years.

    I think good governance can reduce underspend amount but not entirely eliminate – unforseen events will happen which means the total projected spend cannot be 100% completed. In addition, caution with public money is not in itself a bad thing.

    Judge this government on the results on its management of the first budgetary year it is responsible for – 2008-2009.

    In relation to OFMDFM increase in budget – surely it is logical that administrative costs will dramatically increase with the resumption of devolution. Executive Services lie with the OFMDFM – increased executive responibility rather than individual Minister responsibility has pushed the focus much more on the Executive therefore requiring resources. This figure should be viewed as Executive administrative costs, not FM and DFM.

  • Mark Fartlighter

    “Something stinks in OFMDFM…”

    Shocking, I am surprised at you Belfast Gonzo.

    He is over eighty years of age, these things happen, try and be a little less ageist please.