Thursday, 19 February 2009

Department of Regional Development and Interference with the Royal Mail

Interference with mail - Postal Services Act 2000 Sections 83 and 84

The Postal Services Act 2000 sections 83 and 84, see Stones 8 - 24243 and 8 - 24244, create offences of interfering with mail. Section 83 is aimed at persons engaged in the business of a postal operator and creates an either way offence. Section 84 covers any person and creates a summary only imprisonable offence. Both sections cover intentional delaying or opening of a postal packet and intentional opening of a mail bag.

If you receive a letter at your place of work that is addressed to someone who used to work there do you readdress it, return it to the Post Office or take a chance with the Postal Services Act 2000 (Section 84) and open it. Such a letter mysteriously winged its way to the Department of Regional Development (DRD) but its existence was brought to the attention of the intended recipient.

Following an FOI request, a senior DRD official asserts that DRD received the letter/correspondence from the sender at a meeting on December 8, 2008. I'm told that the sender has no such recollection.

Unfortunately for the DRD, the recipient discovered that lesser DRD officials had been in discussion with Calmac about the contents of the letter prior to December 8.

The timeline goes something like this:

1. Letter addressed to recipient on 10 11 November 2008

2. Email sent from DRD to Calmac on 13 November 2008

3. Email sent from Calmac to DRD on 13 November 2008

4. Email sent from DRD to Calmac on 13 November 2008

5. Email sent from DRD to Calmac on 19 November 2008 when a DRD official refers to 'copies of correspondence'. Was the letter perhaps faxed to DRD?

6. Letter allegedly given to DRD by sender on 8 December 2008

Perhaps it's worth revisiting the DRD website to review its core values:

A number of core values underpin the culture within which the Department works to fulfil its mission. These are:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Objectivity
  • Impartiality

We hope to finalise the vision and values by December 2008.


It seems David Ford is asking the Minister to look into his crystal ball:

7. Mr D Ford (South Antrim):

To ask the Minister for Regional Development what time the last ferry sailed from Ballycastle to Rathlin on Mondays and Fridays in (i) September; (ii) October; and (iii) November, in 2008 and 2009.

(AQW 5364/09)