Conor Murphy: “I do have confidence [in Laurence MacKenzie].”

Following the intervention of the First and deputy First Ministers in the Northern Ireland water crisis, a NI Executive statement was issued stating that “There was considerable anger across the Ministerial spectrum about the shambolic response of NI Water which had let down the whole community.”

OFMDFM appear to be still singing from the same hymn sheet.  “There has to be accountability” they both have said.

Mr McGuinness said: “There has to be accountability and we are not going to under those circumstances stand here and make excuses for a body that has so miserably failed our citizens.”

First Minister Peter Robinson added: “There has to be an accountability for what has taken place and we don’t think anybody could suggest NIW have covered themselves with any glory over the past days and people must assess their positions.”

And then there’s the NI Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy…

From a report in today’s Irish News

However, Mr Murphy, the Sinn Féin regional development minister who has the power to remove Mr MacKenzie, yesterday changed his position when pushed to say whether he had confidence in the man he appointed.

“I do have have confidence,” he said.

“I know Laurence.  I know he has worked very hard in relation to this.” [added emphasis]

It was a change in tack from the previous day when he declined to answer questions from reporters asking if he had confidence in the under-pressure water boss.  However he would not go as far as saying Mr MacKenzie’s job was safe.

“What I want to do is get into the here and now and get services restored – that is the priority – and let us look at all of the issues and deal with that in the cold light of day, not in the heat of the moment,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

Mr Murphy said the chief executive had not offered his resignation.  He said removing people from NIW would not solve the problems.