Department Obstructing Housing Executive Inquiry Says Committee

Synopsis: The Committee for Social Development has voiced concern at departmental delays in providing information for the inquiry into allegations made against Minister Nelson McCausland MLA in a BBC Spotlight programme.

Session: 2013/2014

Date: 13 February 2014

Reference: SD 02/13/14

The Committee for Social Development has voiced concern at departmental delays in providing information for the inquiry into allegations made against Minister Nelson McCausland MLA in a BBC Spotlight programme. 

The Committee’s inquiry has been examining if there was any impropriety or irregularity relating to decision-making in respect of Northern Ireland Housing Executive contracts. This has now entered its second phase, but the Committee is concerned that papers to inform the first phase of the inquiry are still outstanding. 

Following today’s meeting, the Chairperson of the Committee, Alex Maskey MLA said: “The Committee has previously raised concerns with the Department about how it has handled requests for information pertaining to this inquiry. Yet despite assurances and a commitment from the Department that it will facilitate the Committee in fulfilling its statutory duty, we are still waiting for essential papers and information. We believe that this approach by the Department is proving obstructive.

“While we may have made some progress on this issue following discussions with departmental officials, delays continue in relation to the delivery of information. It is crucial that the Department commits sufficient resources to ensure that information requests from the Committee are not only handled expeditiously but are also answered comprehensively. 

Mr Maskey concluded, ‘This inquiry was initiated to address very serious issues of alleged impropriety and the Department has a duty to assist the Committee in progressing its investigations as quickly as possible.’

ENDS

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