The fallout from the unfit-for-purpose utility that is Northern Ireland Water shows no sign of ending any time soon. It has just come to light that almost £25 million allocated to upgrade Northern Ireland’s ageing water system was given back to the devolved government in December.
Despite years of under investment in the water infrastucture, when money was made available for capital projects it was untouched then returned to the central government pot for reallocation to something else. Democratic Unionist MLA Alastair Ross seems to sum up the general feeling:
“One has to ask why NIW were unable to spend the £25 million when the need for improving the water infrastructure in Northern Ireland is well-known. This indicates poor financial management within NIW, and a lack of clear leadership within that organisation far beyond the former chief executive (Laurence MacKenzie).
“It seems that every day we learn of more and more mismanagement issues within NIW and indeed within their parent department under the ministerial responsibility of Conor Murphy.”
Perhaps Conor Murphy is finding it harder than he expected to make the adjustment from being a member of the IRA and possessing explosives to being a member of a government and possessing control of a government department. Perhaps he is in denial of the reality at NI Water, but then, denial seems to be something that comes naturally to him.