Sinn Fein suffers another memory loss at the PAC?

There’s much to be said about where the PAC’s investigation of NI Water leaves us all. As noted previously there is plenty of material to draw out from the final report. But there’s one wee detail worth noting in passing.

Mitchel McLaughlin had this to say on Monday:

It was revealed during Ministerial questions in the Assembly today that Mr. McGlone, an SDLP member of the Public Accounts Committee had submitted questions to the Committee investigation into NI Water procurement procedures, on behalf of one of the sacked NI Water Director’s Declan Gormley.

Declan Gormley submitted a list of questions to DRD under Freedom of Information that were rejected. Those exact same questions were then given to the SDLP Deputy Leader who resubmited them to the PAC Investigation into NI Water in which Declan Gormley featured.

Mr McLaughlin was drawing on the Minister’s statement in the house.

Erm, except it seems that Mr McGlone didn’t do any such thing.

According to the Clerk of the Committee, those questions were sent directly to the PAC by Mr Gormley with the Committee agreeing to submit them to DRD at a meeting on 21st October last year. For some reason the decision was not recorded in the [original] minutes.

But you might have thought the committee chair, Paul Maskey or indeed Mitchel himself (, who were both present at the meeting in which approval was granted) would have remembered?

Along with that ludicrous suggestion that PAC members should have their phone records checked, it all has the smack of trying of someone trying to bolt the door long after the horse has bolted…

Meanwhile, the Minister refuses to address questions around why he saw fit to fire one director (Declan Gormley) and keep another (Don Price); both of whom both started the job on exactly the same day? Or just how much real money NI Water lost in contracts after making their only senior contracts specialist redundant?

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  • ranger1640

    Would that be the same Sinn Fein chairman Mitchell McLaughlin, who stated that the IRA’s execution of a mother of 10 Jean McConville in 1972 was “not a crime”.
    Mitchell McLaughlin has lodes of creditability.

  • Mick Fealty

    Paul Maskey’s the Chair, MItchel stepped down about a year or two back.

  • “According to the Clerk of the Committee, those questions were sent directly to the PAC by Mr Gormley with the Committee agreeing to submit them to DRD at a meeting on 21st October last year. For some reason the decision was not recorded in the minutes.”

    I’m confused, Mick. Here’s what it says in the PAC minutes for October 21:

    “7. Any other business

    Correspondence from Mr Declan Gormley

    Members noted two items of correspondence forwarded by Mr Gormley to the Committee relating to the Committee’s ongoing inquiry into NI Water.

    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department about the concerns raised by Mr Gormley.

    3:22 pm Mr McGlone left the meeting.”

  • ranger1640

    Yes Mick, but was he not the Sinn Fein chairman when he made that reprehensible statement.

  • Pete Baker

    Conor Murphy: “I think that an apology might be due on that given that a member of the Public Accounts Committee submitted questions to that Committee in his name as part of that investigation. Those questions were previously refused under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by the Department when Mr Gormley submitted them, and they then reappeared in the name of a member of the Public Accounts Committee, who submitted them to the Committee investigation into the matter.”

    Northern Ireland Regional Development Minister misleading the Assembly?

    I think that an apology might be due on that…

  • Were there two PAC sessions on October 21, 2010?

    Mick: “Paul Maskey or indeed Mitchel himself (, who were both present at the meeting in which approval was granted) would have remembered?”

    According to my link above Mitchel McLaughlin left the meeting at 3.04 shortly before the Gormley correspondence was handled under Any Other Business.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yep, you are right thatMitchel left before Gormley’s communication was reviewed.

    The original minutes have already been amended, so no there were not two meetings, just two slightly different sets of minutes.

  • Pigeon Toes

    ” should explain publicly why he compromised his position and that of the investigation.His actions have undermined the role of the PAC and the trust put in it to act fairly, impartially and in the public interest.”

    Oh dear Mitchel,and Conor should have have checked their facts first.

    Why no such request regarding Mr Priestly?

    I think an apology to Mr Glone is in order.

    An

  • Pigeon Toes
  • Shortridge has finished his report on S4C:

    “Sir Jon Shortridge, who was Permanent Secretary at the Welsh Assembly Government until his retirement in 2008, said there had been no proper arrangements in place to ensure proper scrutiny or value for money.

    The report blames the failures on S4C’s governance structure, which was based on ‘separation’ between the S4C Authority and the executive management team.”

    Sounds just like here.

  • Pigeon Toes

    ‘separation’ or “disconnect”?

  • granni trixie

    Cool MIck – to identify that there were 2 sets of minutes…. and significant.

  • Pete Baker

    Granni

    There was only ever one set of minutes of the committee meeting.

    And only one summary of those minutes was published.

    Following the misleading statement by the Minister to the Assembly, and the subsequent press release by Mitchel McLaughlin, that summary of the minutes has been amended.

  • “And just where is the Shortridge report?”

    PT, it gets a brief mention in the DRD Board minutes on February 1:

    “Malcolm [McKibbin] said that Sir Jon’s report was being considered.”

    Surely it can’t be a very long report ….

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2010/110321today.htm

    “Mr McGlone: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have spoken to you one-on-one about this matter. During Question Time last Monday, the Minister for Regional Development, in response to questioning, placed on record some allegations regarding the role of members of the Public Accounts Committee. Those have since been proven to be inaccurate. I have provided you with a copy of a record of the minutes of that Public Accounts Committee meeting. Will you, in your role as Speaker, investigate those matters and, with the veracity of the minutes that have been provided to you, pursue the required course of action to rectify the inaccuracies that were presented to the House?

    Mr Speaker: I thank the Member for his point of order this afternoon. I take very seriously things that are said in the House that are sometimes inaccurate. I also confirm that the Member has shown me the document to which he referred, and I confirm what he has said. He has put his concerns and views on the record. I will certainly write on behalf of the whole House to the Minister and try to confirm as far as possible the accuracies or inaccuracies of what he said”