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.

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  • William Markfelt

    Chris Mellor is quoted on the BBC pages, and it’s clear that revenge is a cold cut.

    former Northern Ireland Water (NIW) acting chief executive Christopher Mellor, who was sacked in March, had described the water crisis as a “disaster waiting to happen”.

    “I think this is what happens when you get rid of the directors at the top of NIW, who knew what they were doing, and replace them with people who have no experience of running a water utility.

    “In my view, the politicians, as well as the company, must take some share of the blame.”

    Nice that Conor backs his bag man. It just pushed Conor closer to McKenzie when the NIA need a sacrificial lamb. cKenzie is it, and statements backing McKenzie simply undermine Murphy’s political judgement. It’s like this: McGuinness won’t be backing Murphy when it comes to finding scapegoats in the run up to the elections, just as a review of NIW’s performance is due. The more McKenzie and Murphy are seen as a double act, the more wounded Murphy becomes.

    I suspect the bubbly will fizz a bit more in the Priestly home this evening, too, as those left behind sink further into the mire.

  • Mick Fealty

    “removing people from NIW would not solve the problems.”

    So no more hillbilly lynchings like those disgraceful events of March; which I guess is good. However the tone of the message coming from higher up is: clean this mess up first and then “people must assess their positions”.

    Which only goes to aid the impression that Mr Murphy is little more than a lame duck Minister.

  • Has anybody mentioned the elephant in this zoo of ours?

    Lough Neagh, the biggest freshwater lake in the UK (in W. Europe?)

    Is it to be used only for ducking NIW senior executives?

  • “[Murphy] said removing people from NIW would not solve the problems.”

    Is the Minister now regretting dismissals he made earlier this year?

  • Mick Fealty

    @articles:

    Indeed it is. And, I suspect, far too polluted in its current state to be used for human consumption.

  • Cynic2

    The problem with ritual executions (as opposed to the other kind) is that the corpse is still free to talk.

    The Minister earlier sacked the original Board and then eas forced to suspend his Perm Sec. That just leaves him and McKenzie. If McKenzie has to go the Minister will look very lonely….and exposed …..and weak

  • Lough Neagh is the biggest freshwater lake in the UK and 40% of Northern Ireland’s drinking water is taken from it. Work is already under way to increase this amount BBC 2005

  • This is a time of year for predictions.

    I predict in 40 years time following substantial investment in the NI water infrastructure ,we will be exporting and charging for water by ship to the arid wastes of SE England.

    It is a cast iron certainty that SE England will have insufficient water for much of the year, and other parts of the GB will have insufficient water for long periods of the year. Down South they will be dependent on us for the brewing of Guinness.

    Climatically, geologically and geographically this place is perfect for collecting and storing water in future years. Politically however for strategy and leadership this place is a desert.

  • pippakin

    articles

    I agree with you about the south of England. It is over populated already. In time infrastructure or not it will run dry. My feeling is though that they will handle it better than we have so far…

    Here every field has a steam, there are streams in the fields on either side of my house, there is a well in my garden and another less than a hundred yards along the road. We are currently enduring lower water pressure every evening and all night to conserve water! Fortunately the Moy appears to be in pretty good nick…

    How this country ever ran dry is beyond me and when this little disaster is over I hope we will have learned the lesson. We need water and its maintenance and upgrades are not free.

  • Ah the Moy, I spent many a summer in Moyne, Killala.

    I remember stopping a stream, i shall not say where, and attempting to turn it into a wishingwell but somebody nicked all the coins I had put in to encourage others.

  • alan56

    As this saga continues the Minister’s position becomes more uncomfortable. Of course he is probably safe in this ‘permafrost’ style of democracy where ther is no opposition in Stormont to shout ‘resign’. It is amazing how no party with the exception I think of TUV is calling for heads to roll!

  • Mick, ‘Lame Duck minister’? How so? Almost guarantees he will be back as to not have him back would mean failure and with SF that word simply does not exist.

  • Cynic2

    “I hope we will have learned the lesson.”

    ….. the problem is that the lesson is that our Government isn’t working so those involved – on all sides – will stay quiet and hurry everyone on so we don’t notice

  • Drumlins Rock

    If McKenzie goes, then Murphy is badly damaged, but being SF will survive, however he will cost them a lot of credibility too, and taken alongside Catriona means two out of three departmental ministers have failed. Will this affect their vote? Marginally I would guess, we shall see in May, but maybe the southern voters should also take note before placing their 1,2,3 !

  • [aside]I thought the former NIW interim NED was just a council candidate, not a representative? [jpg file]

  • Cynic2

    Has he resigned yet? He’s still listed as a Director on NIW’s website but I am sure that there is no way in which he would be using his position and handing out water for electoral purposes.

    Indeed, it might be foolish to remind electors that he was one of the people who was presiding over this fiasco

  • Cynic2

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

    News Letter ” Murphy Must Go”

  • The ever modest Ó Muilleoir pontificating on the balcony:

    “Funny how times change. Nowadays, thank God, those appointed to public office have to prove their worth — a challenge I’m up to as a director of NI Water.” .. 13 August 2010

  • Drumlins Rock

    And just think, we have all those potholes to look forwards to next week!

  • http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Pressure-grows-on-Murphy-over.6676989.jp

    Here is Murphy’s Stormont bio entry. Note the (lack of) detail; just like that of Machine Gun Marty. Why does he not tell us of his daring exploits with the Undertaker, the Surgeon and the rest of the great and the good? Learning how they offed Charlie Armstrong and how they took down that chopper would be more gripping than his lame arsed excuses as to why he denied the people of the 6 cos, those of South Armagh included, of water.
    Let them have snow, I guess. But not pure Colombian snow.
    Caitriona Ruane, another standard Stormont joke, does tell us of her support for the Colombian Farcista helpers as well as her work for other Provo front groups and that she likes to travel around Africa, Asia and, of course, Latin America of PIRA Bombers’ infamy.

    When is The Provos, the Musical starting? Who should be in it?: Ronnie Corbett, Ardal O’Hanlon and Caitriona Ruane/Murphy as the lover attraction and butt of their jokes. Perhaps the Three Stooges or Dara O’Briain (he wears a poppy too)
    Perhaps the Provos could launch a new war and kill their enemies by making them laugh themselves to death when they see what useless buffoons the Provos are.

  • http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/members/membership07.htm

    Wrong link. Laugh at all the Provo stooges (more than three) by following the links.

  • THERE’S A HOLE IN MY BUCKET – REMIX

    There’s ice in the bucket, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    There’s ice in the bucket, dear Laurence, there’s ice.

    Out of the office dear Liam, dear Liam, dear Liam,
    Out of the office, dear Liam, dear Liam, deal with it.

    And how shall I deal with it, dear Conor, dear Conor,
    And how shall I deal with it, dear Conor, with what?

    Wait for the thaw, dear Liam, dear Liam, dear Liam,
    Wait for the thaw, dear Liam, dear Liam, wait for the thaw

    But the thaw is too quick, dear Conor, dear Conor,
    The thaw is too quick , dear Conor, too quick.

    Then get back here dear Laurence, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    Then get back here dear Laurence, dear Laurence, get back!

    We’re in this together, dear Conor, dear Conor,
    We’re in this together, dear Conor, together we’re in!

    You’re on your own, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    You’re on your own, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, your own !

    But if I go, Conor goes, dear Marty, dear Marty,
    But if I go, Conor goes, dear Marty, Conor goes!

    You’re shambolic, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    You’re shambolic, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, shambolic

    No comment, focus on supply, dear Peter, dear Peter,
    No comment, focus on supply, dear Peter, no comment

    Then restore it, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    Then restore it, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, restore it

    With what should I restore it, dear Conor, dear Conor,
    With what should I restore it, dear Conor, with what?

    With water, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    With water, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, with water.

    But how shall I get it? dear Conor, dear Conor,
    But how shall I get it? dear Conor, with what?

    With a bucket, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, dear Laurence,
    With a bucket, dear Laurence, dear Laurence, with a bucket!

    (All together now)

    But there’s a hole in the bucket, dear Conor, dear Conor,
    There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Conor, a hole.

  • 241934 john brennan

    articles;
    Excellent parody on “there’s a hole in the bucket dear Lisa”

    Pure, dead, brilliant – congratulations

  • Thank you JB but i really can’t claim much credit; this wrote itself such has been the farcical timeline of events this last two weeks.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘He said removing people from NIW would not solve the problems.’

    Perhaps not. But it’s the beginning of a course of action to solve the problems.

    This Murphy chap also appears to be a worse kiss of death than the average football club chairman. That’s two he has offered his confidence in, only for there to be a turnaround in 24 hours.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Makes ya wonder though, if this hadn’t happened just how far the lengths DRD would have gone to protect the decision to keep the CEO.