DRD settles for #NIWater with an apology to Declan Gormley…

So, we are nearing the end of the story of one of the sacked directors of Northern Ireland Water, Declan Gormley. The implications of this are pretty unequivocal. But before further detailed comment over to the Minister, who stated this afternoon that… …in March 2010 some of the non-executive directors of Northern Ireland Water Limited, including Mr. Declan Gormley were dismissed from the board of that company by the then Minister for Regional Development, Mr Conor Murphy. The Department was …

Read more…

NI Water: External auditor offered NIW a retro-fit..

MLAs are preparing to go into discussion of the NIAO’s long awaited report into the ongoing NI Water debacle that led to the sack of four out of five Non Executive Directors (even though apparently there was no fault found inside the organisation). They will find that the total value of the 74 cases investigated by internal Auditor Nicola Brennan in her ‘deep dive audit’, comes to £6 Million more than was orginally found. Interestingly of these, 41 (that is …

Read more…

NI Water: Why did MacKenzie break up NIW’s commercial review team?

With the inclusion of a submission to the PAC from Contracting Out, the NI Audit Office team will almost certainly spotlight NI Water’s customer service and IT contract with Steria Ltd. Not least since this is the only part of the initial controversy that substantially touches on the value for money issue. For all the accusations flowing in the direction of the sacked NEDs, it is important to note that Mr MacKenzie was given a detailed briefing on his arrival in …

Read more…

NIW Saga Ch.135: Why is Dallat Rushing to Mellor’s Rescue?

The NIW saga is fascinating because of the volume and breadth of questions arising from it. There’s the elected reps vs. permanent govt (civil service) angle; the issue around procurement rules and potential for uncovering legacy of corruption, incompetence or bad practice; and the opportunity being presented for the scrutiny function of our legislators to be asserted and defined as never before. And then there is the issue of watching how the political representatives react to an unfolding situation for …

Read more…

Matters arising from PAC’s interrogation of NIW and DRD

Slugger has had sight of the letter (update: copied – below the fold) on Phoenix Gas headed note paper and signed as Group Chief Executive, Peter Dixon sent to Paul Maskey, chair of Stormont’s Public Accounts Committee complaining of insinuations made by PAC members Patsy McGlone, John Dallat and Dawn Purvis against him as a pro Bono member of the internal review panel during last Thursday’s gripping three and a half hour session of the PAC at Stormont. Update: Nevin …

Read more…

“it is important to restore the public’s confidence in NIW…”

The NI Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee declined the offer to question directly the former chairman of Northern Ireland Water – who, along with the non-executive directors, disputes the circumstances of their dismissal in March.  Meanwhile, as the BBC notes, the NI Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, has appointed 4 new non-executive directors to the Board of NI Water by “an emergency process”. The new directors are: Mairtin O’Muilleoir, a Belfast businessman and former Sinn Fein councillor; Peter Bunting, …

Read more…

Statutory duty to appoint the NIWC?

Rena Shepherd has been appointed as the new Parades Commissioner replacing David Burrows (removed following a successful court challenge). Following that debacle, it appears the NIO has returned to form and chosen another appointee with NIWC connections. The statutory duty sets out that the the Parades Commission “as a group are representative of the community in Northern Ireland”, the NI membership of the Parades commission is now 5 females and 1 male. In terms of political activity, two have played …

Read more…

Water rates or hosepipe ban: why NI Water funding model needs to change…

I was on Nolan to discuss a hosepipe ban that’s imminent. In England Severn Trent has asked people to conserve water, but there’s no ban. Water services in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic have been investing massively in their systems. That’s not only brought leaks down within the system but allows them to keep up with ever rising demand as populations grow across these islands and demands shift up and down with the seasons. Meanwhile NI Water (as it …

Read more…

We can’t keep putting off investing in NI Water…

As you might have noticed it has been pretty hot the past few weeks. All this heat is not great for our water supplies and NI Water have warned that of supply shortages and a potential hosepipe ban. This happens most years, but it is a good reminder that we take water for granted. NI Water has been warning for years that we need to invest in our water infrastructure. There is the obvious part of the service – the …

Read more…

Change here for Ballinderry, Glenavy, Crumlin and… Aldergrove?

Wesley Johnston very kindly gave me some old NIR, UTA, GNR and even NIRTB timetables owned by his father, and it got me thinking. I’ve long been an advocate of reopening Lisburn-Antrim for commuter services, but what would a train service look like? The 1977 NIR timetable is the benchmark, rather than the much slower timetable which applied by the mid-1990s.  10 minutes Antrim-Crumlin, 5 minutes Crumlin-Glenavy, 6 minutes Glenavy-Ballinderry, 9 minutes Ballinderry-Lisburn including a stop at Knockmore. Trains call …

Read more…

A letter to the Ministers of Education and Health on Childcare provision

Dr Orna Young & Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick write for us about their joint letter highlighting the issue of childcare provision  We have written to the Ministers for Education and Health to urge them to provide clarity on the issue of childcare provision, and an indication of a road map to ensure children can return to childcare settings when appropriate and the risk has been proven to be reduced. The current situation is unsustainable, with parents and guardians continuing to provide …

Read more…

We have a piece of paper… it looks like a Stormont deal, tbc

Have we got a deal that the DUP and Sinn Fein sign up to or not? By Thursday midnight, it wasn’t clear. Will all parties turn up to the reconvened Assembly? By the time you read this we should know. In the meantime we have – a document .. But Arlene Foster’s verdict looks favourable.. “On balance we believe there is a basis upon which the Assembly and Executive can re-established in a fair and balanced way… This is not …

Read more…

Northern Ireland outpatient waiting lists are 100 times more than England’s…

FactCheckNI confirms Mark H Durkins comment on the health waiting lists: From the article: CLAIM: 105,486 people were waiting over a year for a consultant-led outpatient appointment in Northern Ireland, which is 100 times more than in England, with its population 30 times greater. CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. 105,486 and 1,089 people were waiting over a year for a consultant-led outpatient appointment in Northern Ireland and England, respectively. The estimated population of Northern Ireland and England is 55,977,178 and 1,881,600, respectively. The …

Read more…

Is a two party stitch up the nearest thing to powersharing we’re likely to get?

HNIW45 from The Detail on Vimeo. Right, so. Great analysis here from both Newton Emerson (and whoever who does his graphics). Under Fresh Start there is now a negotiation period for the new Programme for Government of two weeks, but Arlene Foster admitted in February she’s started working on it already (ie before the election). A two party stitch up. Well, I never? The big fault with all of the Programme for Government negotiations is that they are done in …

Read more…