NI Justice Minister names independent reviewer

As the BBC reports, Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Alliance Party leader David Ford, has announced that former civil servant, Tony McCusker, will conduct the independent review into allegations made against Department of Justice civil servants by Sam Pollock when he resigned as Chief Executive at the NI Police Ombudsman.

Full terms of reference of review here [pdf file].

From the notes to the Minsterial statement

  • Tony McCusker retired from the Northern Ireland Civil Service on 30 August 2005 and since then has undertaken a wide range of advisory work in Northern Ireland and in several European countries. He is also the Chairman of the NI Community Relations Council and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. Previously he was Director in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister with responsibility for the Executive Secretariat and Corporate Services from December 1999 to January 2002. He was Deputy Secretary in Department of Agriculture and Rural Development until 2005 and was responsible for the Department’s Policy Group. [added link]

  • Tony McCusker’s main point of contact with the Department of Justice will be Anthony Harbinson, Director of Justice Delivery, as Anthony has no direct involvement with the Office of the Police Ombudsman or its Senior Management Team.

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    • Banjaxed

      And so the charade goes on.
      A former clone is appointed to inspect the current bunch.

      As Pete Seeger sang, albeit in a different context,
      ‘….And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
      And they all look just the same’.

      Watch this space for, ‘Nothing untoward…., highest integrity and standards….., however, if a perception exists, lessons have and will be learned….’, etc, etc, etc…..

    • “former civil servant .. will conduct the independent review into allegations”

      This all sounds terribly familiar. Back in the day – 2008 – Wilfie Hamilton, a former civil servant – Rathlin ferry independent investigation …

    • pippakin

      I thought so. I wonder has there ever been an ‘independent’ investigation in the north.

    • Linda R McKee

      a former senior civil servant investigating the alleged actions of civil servants is not advised!

    • gongadin

      A full take on, the power’s to be think the 5/8’s are thick.

      I really don’t trust any civil servant or ex cs at the higher end of Northern Ireland government.

      Drag it out forever and a day the 5/8’s will forget about it.

    • William Markfelt

      ‘I wonder has there ever been an ‘independent’ investigation in the north.;

      No. The outcome has been pre-deterined, and a bunch of suits will now make the necessary noises to create the illusion of investigating before they announce the findings they’re expected to deliver. They may possibly even attempt to make their findings without actually interviewing Mr. Pollock. After all, he’s just an irrelevancy to the findings of the investigation.

      @gongadin : Why limit your mistrust to the ‘higher’ level of civil servants? Even the lower level ones are being schooled in the dishonesty dark arts.

    • Cynic2

      So just how was he appointed Wee Davy? By an open and fair competition?

      Surely not by a single tender action?

      Conor will be after you and you will be sacked and vilified in the press …. or even better, called as a witness for Declan Gormley

    • Cynic2 I’m with you on this. It would be more credible for Ford to appoint an independent investigator if he was an independent justice minister, but we know too much about how and why he got the P&J seat. His past voting tactics doesn’t give confidence.

    • “without actually interviewing Mr. Pollock”

      William, the uninitiated might be surprised, even shocked by your assertion.

      At the time of the Rathlin ferry contract investigations, the investigators apparently had no plans to talk to all of the companies involved; eventually, they added Calmac/Rathlin Ferries Ltd to the list. Another strange event happened subsequently: Calmac is referred to in a tribunal report despite the fact that the tribunal didn’t bother to contact Calmac!

      I wonder will the new Executive proceed with root and branch governance reform so that innocent parties aren’t trampled on – at considerable public expense.

    • Pigeon Toes

      “The Police Ombudsman’s Office has asked Criminal Justice Inspectorate (CJI) to review its independence from the PSNI.

      Lat week, the office’s chief executive Sam Pollock resigned after claiming its independence had been undermined by meddling from senior civil servants.

      CJI Chief Inspector Michael Maguire has said he hopes to complete his review by the end of June.

      Justice Minister David Ford has already commissioned another review of the claims….
      “Mr McCusker’s terms of reference do not address the alleged lack of operational independence from the PSNI.

      “I have categorically refuted such suggestions and have stated that the office has both real and practical independence from the PSNI.”

      Mr Maguire said his report would provide “an impartial, evidence-based analysis of the relationship between the Police Ombudsman’s Office and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”…

    • Comrade Stalin

      Jesus Christ Nevin, will you ever drop the Rathlin Ferry bullshit. The way things are going if we ever face nuclear Armageddon you’ll be there furiously ranting about how the destruction of the planet was caused by the failure to investigate the Rathlin ferry contracts.

    • CS, my associates and I have been exposing bullshit, irrespective of the source, for several years now. Perhaps you accidentally strayed into the line of fire 🙂

    • PT, it’s fascinating to see so many of these ‘watchdog’ organisations in the Chief Executives Forum along with public service ‘big-wigs’ and ‘little-wigs’; CJI is represented, though not by its chief inspector.

    • The question still remains, as to why Ford saw fit to set up an inquiry to investigate only the dept civil service interferewnce, and leaving out the other Pollack complaint about interfwerence from PSNI due to over famiarity between the bodies.So Hutchinson has now had to follow on begfhind with a second inquiry to deal with that. Wouldn’t happen in O’Loan’s era.

    • Keyboard playing up. sorry.