Thursday 19 August 2010
The Consumer Council has commented on this week’s developments regarding investigations into Northern Ireland Water (NI Water). Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said: “These latest developments are a further blow to consumer confidence, which had already plummeted following the revelations about NI Water’s misuse of public money. Very serious questions must be answered. Earlier this week the Consumer Council asked for and has now secured a meeting with Minister Murphy and we will be pressing him with those questions on consumers’ behalf.
[click images to enlarge]
Antoinette had earlier expressed Council concern about the delay in the Ministerial appointment of the interim Board:
There is potential to further jeopardise governance of and confidence in Northern Ireland Water
As a former member of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland she is well placed to scrutinise the community balance of the new Board and the independence of the Non-Executive Directors (NEDs), not just from Government but from each other. Any taint of cronyism would do further damage.
Were all of the new NEDs selected on the same basis or were some chosen through 'conversations with a purpose'? Did the DRD Permanent Secretary declare an interest viz. that he participated in a private venture in New York which was organised by Máirtin Ó Muilleoir less than a month before the latter was named by the Minister as an interim NED?
Why has an additional NED been added to the Board? How might this change affect decisions taken by the Board? What business and other connections exist amongst the NEDs - and between the NEDs and DRD and NIW Executive Directors - which might limit their independence?
Let's hope the Consumer Council continues to ask all those governance questions of the Minister, the DRD and Northern Ireland Water - in the public and the consumer interest.
Available for download on Scribd
Added 27 August 2010
CCNI Press Office: "
How will the Minister react to questions being posed by the Consumer Council when its Chief Executive has now got caught up in the NIW fiasco?
Added September 1, 2010
[click link]"The Consumer Council Chief Executive and Chair met today (1 September) with Minister Conor Murphy to put their questions, concerns and demands to him following recent revelations about the handling of an independent review of Northern Ireland Water’s (NI Water) contracts issuing practices."