Friday, 1 May 2009

What a DRDful website

Surely some mistake. Didn't the judges see the Department for Regional Development website with its 'ongoing' technical difficulties? There have been difficulties since I started covering the Rathlin ferry saga and that's almost a year ago now.

The Department for Regional Development's website is experiencing technical difficulties. We are currently providing a reduced service whilst addressing the problem.

Surely the £1.2 million they supposedly saved on the purchase of a catamaran for the Ballycastle-Rathlin ferry route could have sorted out such difficulties ages ago. I say supposedly since it appears that only £0.7 million was returned to the coffers.

Here's a recent quote pertaining to Rathlin:

Members noted receipt of a letter, dated 1 April 2009, from the Minister for Regional Development regarding the Rathlin Island Draft Policy. Members decided to request briefing from the Department on this matter at the end of the public consultation period.

Here's what the Minister had to say to the Assembly back on 10 November 2008:

Given that Rathlin is our only offshore inhabited island, we wish to develop a specific policy. Therefore, in the next few weeks, I intend to prepare a draft policy for circulation among my Executive colleagues for their comments, and to bring that before an Executive meeting as soon as possible afterwards.

Now the obvious place to look for such a document would be in the DRD's consultation zone There's nothing there and there's no link to the annex of past consultations.

Perhaps all will become clearer on 11 May 2009:

18. Mr D McKay (North Antrim)

To ask the Minister for Regional Development for an update on the Executive's policy for Rathlin Island.

Perhaps Daithi or other MLAs could also inquire about reports of ferry collisions with other vessels and pontoons in the fairly recent past. These reports are coming from the island and also from Co Cork so it would appear that there would appear be some substance in them.