As well as revealing his “reservations” about police services, the Northern Ireland Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, also gave the Irish News his first recorded comments about the troubled NI Water Board, and his emergency appointees. Or, rather, his first recorded comments about the questions surrounding the Independent Review Team. From the Irish News
Mr Murphy said he believed people with an “axe to grind” were querying the inquiry.
“What I am aware of is there has been a campaign to attack the integrity of the people who brought these issues to our attention or investigated them. Nobody has ever challenged there was wrongdoing going on but it’s an attempt to undo that by shooting the messenger.
“It has now recruited political advocates and what their motivation is, is something they need to answer.”
Adds In contrast to the actual Minister in the Irish News, here’s what the Department of Regional Development told the News Letter
When asked how Mr Priestly had acquired Mr Dixon’s letter a full day ahead of its delivery to the committee and why he then sent it to the Audit Office, which is independent of government, DRD said in a statement: “Matters relating to the IRT (Independent Review Team) which found 73 cases where £28.4million of NI Water contracts were awarded without competitive processes are subject to the scrutiny of the assembly PAC.
“Until the PAC publishes its report in the autumn it would be inappropriate for the minister or the department to comment further at this time.” [added emphasis]