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?

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