Strange timing by the Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, to declare that the body is withdrawing from the Stakeholders Partnership Agreement with NI Water and the Department for Regional Development.
The UTV report suggests the release of emails between McKeown and Laurence MacKenzie was the cause of the breakdown of trust…
In an unprecedented move, the Consumer Council says it has now lost trust in the company and the Government Department led by Conor Murphy.
“To leak or withhold information does a great disservice to consumers,” Ms McKeown said on Monday.
“Trust has broken down between some of the partners in the Partnership Agreement. This isn’t about the Consumer Council; it is about consumers not having a full and accurate picture and that is simply not right. Until such times as we can be assured that the Partnership Agreement will be honoured and trust restored by all stakeholders agreeing to be transparent in their dealings, we cannot be a part of it.
“There is a need to sit down to re-define the roles and relationships between all water stakeholders and trust has to be at the heart of that exercise. “
But those cozy emails were released some time ago [20 August post].
So which partners specifically does Antoinette McKeown, and the Consumer Council, no longer trust?
And what were the answers to her questions for the Minister?
Adds According to the BBC report
[Antoinette McKeown] “The view of the Consumer Council is that when information that is shared between the Consumer Council and NI Water is leaked in such a way that it misrepresents our position on Northern Ireland Water that is not fair and not acceptable to consumers.
“Also, if information is withheld by the Department for Regional Development from the Consumer Council in relation to the appointment of non-executive directors, that is also unfair to consumers,” she said.
And Worth noting the official statement by the Consumer Council yesterday
The Consumer Council has announced that it is withdrawing from the Water Stakeholders Partnership Agreement1 (Partnership Agreement) due to a breakdown in trust.
Consumer Council Chairperson, Rick Hill and Chief Executive, Antoinette McKeown informed NI Water’s (NIW’s) Interim Chair Padraic White and Chief Executive Laurence Mackenzie and Department for Regional Development (DRD) Minister Conor Murphy MP, MLA of the decision at separate meetings earlier today.