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McLaughlin calls for moratorium on major contracts and appointments pending establishment of Executive

26 April, 2007

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Designate Chair of the Department of Finance & Personnel (DFP) Committee, has today expressed concern at the haste with which Direct Rule Ministers are making decisions and appointments that could tie the hands of incoming Executive Ministers.

Mr. McLaughlin said,

"It has been reported that Direct Rule Minister David Hanson MP has taken a decision to short-list two of the four parties bidding for the huge £500m+ Workplace 2010 contract two weeks prior to the establishment of the Executive and political institutions. In the past few weeks other Ministers have also announced appointments to public bodies.

"I cannot understand why Direct Rule Ministers are currently announcing decisions that will impact on the discharge of the responsibilities of local Ministers when a local administration is about to be restored in less than two weeks.

"We are being told that other major Departmental decisions are being put on hold, as they will rightly come under the remit of the Assembly. I would suggest that it would be prudent to adopt a similar approach to contracts and public appointments.

"Workplace 2010 will involve the sale and leaseback of public owned assets worth in excess of £500m and tie the Department of Finance & Personnel into a 20 year commercial relationship with a private sector company. I find it unacceptable that without proper and detailed consideration by the incoming Minister and Committee that such a legacy should be left to the Assembly.

"I am calling on Direct Rule Ministers to call a moratorium on these decisions and appointments to public bodies pending the imminent establishment of the power sharing Executive and Assembly." ENDS

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