Now this is an interesting response from the Minister. Not least since it seems to contradict what his new Permanent Secretary has already told us:
Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for Regional Development, in relation to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into NI Water, why his Department was reliant on Atkins Contractors to provide detail of the £5,222,144 paid by the Department to them between March 2002 and April 2007, in relation to DRD Water Service Contract work.
Minister for Regional Development: My Department was not reliant on Atkins Contractors to provide this detail. However, because of the amount of information that was requested by the PAC within tight timescales following the 1 July hearing, Atkins Contractors was approached directly.
It has not been possible to retrieve the expenditure figure pre April 2007 from NI Water’s financial systems for this particular contract with Atkins. Therefore the figures pre April 2007 have been provided directly from Atkins.
So which is it Minister?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty