WATER BOARD CEO-Laurence MacKenzie resignation statement: BBC NEWS

January 6, 2011

BBC News – In full: Laurence MacKenzie resignation statement.

I’m not renowned for my understanding nods and sympathetic supportive comments when civil servants make massive mistakes and leave us hanging out to dry but the recent treatment of Northern Ireland Water CEO Laurence MacKenzie does NOT serve us well.

It is very difficult to see what this fall guy could have done to prevent the recent water crisis.

  • He did not control the last 50 years of underspend on water infrastructure that meant so many aged and under-maintained pipes were not fit for purpose- the government did! Let’s sack a politician.
  • He did not decide the current budget allocation to NI Water that allows for the employment of staff, the man hours for meticulous disaster planning and the bulk purchase and storage of massive water relief aid if disaster strikes – the government did! Let’s sack a politician.
  • He did not control the weather and since these conditions were “unprecedented” it seems a bit harsh to put the guy’s career in the freezer over something that our weather experts did not predict!

It seems to me that the correct head to roll here is that of a politician.

It is time for Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy to take political responsibility for the failing of his department. Now, since he too could not have foreseen this particular set of circumstances, I’m sure Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness could then post him to some other department where we can await patiently his not foreseeing some other impending disaster.

At least by one of them resigning our politicians would show some element of  political maturity, an ounce of the accountability they currently avoid by all means possible and Laurence MacKenzie could use the disaster we’ve experienced as leverage to get the situation sorted out before it all happens again.

BUT… here’s my prediction of what will happen now MacKenzie’s resignation has been accepted:-

  • no politicians resign and this behaviour just re-enforces the public perception that ALL POLITICIANS are merely self-serving, money grabbing, morally corrupt incompetents;
  • the disaster will be used as a rationale for the privatisation of the water utility in Northern Ireland;
  • a nice shiny new CEO will be appointed to the latest money making exercise. No doubt he/she will be  all cleanly washed and buffed to a shine and will then proceed to take a massive salary for “sorting out the problem” . He/she will fail in this task and the abject failure will only be highlighted when we have prolonged droughts and/or another session on Mother Nature’s freezer. By the time all this happens the politicians will have moved on, made even more money from having done nothing but jabber and the NI public will be paying through the pocket for private shareholders to rake in big dividends while the water system continues to corrode beneath our streets.

Am I wrong in my prediction? I do hope so but I doubt it.


BBC News – City council wins right-of-way

June 25, 2010

Well done to Derry City Council!

BBC News – City council wins right-of-way.

Many a photo I’ve taken  of that bridge!


BBC News – Dubai kissing couple appeal fails

April 4, 2010

Now.. I’m all for decency and good manners but this makes me think we are all NUTS for supporting DUBAI tourism!

I mean why go to a place where a peck on the cheek – or, as alleged on the evidence of a two year old, a kiss on the lips – gets you sent to jail?

BBC News – Dubai kissing couple appeal fails.

“The initial complaint against them was made by a 38-year-old woman who said she was offended by their behaviour at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where she was dining with her daughter.

The couple’s defence lawyers said the woman – who did not appear in court – had not seen the kiss herself, but had been told by her two-year-old child that the girl had seen the couple kissing.”

Anyone going to DUBAI for a holiday needs their heads examined! Especially when knowing exactly what breaks the law is so difficult. An expert on Islamic law told the BBC:-

“Professor Strawson said the Dubai authorities often turned a blind eye to foreigners’ behaviour, because of the high income that comes from tourists.

But he said Dubai had recently issued new explanations tightening up their laws.”

If it takes an expert lawyer in an obscure religious law to know what is legal and what is illegal and that is coupled with a laxness in the application of the law at the whim of passing policemen.. then what chance has an ordinary tourist of knowing the boundaries?

I suggest that we’d maybe be better off in wet old Ireland than frying in some DUBAI jail.

And if you think that might be easy time.. check out this account by  HAMPSHIRE businessman George Atkinson!

“Every day is a living hell,” said Mr Atkinson.

“I am in a cell with four others. There are two double bunk beds just centimetres apart, pushed right up against the cell door. There are only 122 beds in my block to accommodate 246 men.

So.. caution if you go!

Heron on the Foyle at Quigley’s Point

July 15, 2008

So.. there I was of an evening in Spring just watching the sun go down on Lough Foyle when a heron took off….

’nuff said..


Son finds job-share drinkers to join dad at pub

April 25, 2008

I have pointed out this Reuter’s story to all my children…. for obvious reasons!

“Found: drinking companions to join elderly gentleman for a friendly Drinkbeer at his local pub.

Mike Hammond was bombarded with offers after advertising in his village post office for someone to accompany his 88-year-old father Jack on visits to a southern England pub from a nursing home.

He offered the lucky winner 7 pounds an hour plus expenses and, after sifting through the applicants, decided on a job-share. Drinking duties are to be divided between a retired doctor and a former military man.

“Dad’s now going to be going down to the pub several times a week — three with his new friends and twice with me,” Mike Hammond told The Times on Thursday. “I want to give him some of his old life back.”

And should anyone want to help out with the expenses I’m sure the weans would be happy to accept the help!  🙂

What a brilliant idea! Well done that lad!

Beautiful: Shroove, County Donegal, St Patrick’s Day

March 21, 2008

The old weather has been a bit strange of late, hasn’t it? One minute we’re being frozen like fish fingers at a processing plant, the next we’re having our heads blown off by angry gales and the next minute everything calms right down and all is lovely and spring like. It’s Irish weather I suppose!

On St Patrick’s Day I took a wee wander around Donegal and found my self at Shroove. The pictures say it all…. I defy anyone to have found a nicer place to spend a wee hour… but if you did.. point me to the pictures!

In the meantime .. enjoy these.

1. A ship passes Shroove on the way into Lough Foyle.

2.The rocks to the Lighthouse are an irresistible climbing frame for children.
Read the rest of this entry »

Call Centre Conversations

March 10, 2008

This list of call centre conversations is doing the rounds. Would the individuals responsible for these gems please own up?

Even better… if you have any other examples please feel free to add them!! 🙂

Customer: ‘I’ve been ringing 0700 2300 for two days and can’t getPhone
through to enquires, can you help?’.
Operator: ‘Where did you get that number from, sir?’.
Customer: ‘It was on the door to the Travel Centre’.
Operator: ‘Sir, they are our opening hours’.

Samsung Electronics
Caller: ‘Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?’
Operator: ‘I’m sorry, sir, I don’t understand who you are talking
Caller: ‘On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly
states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall
socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give
me the number for Jack?’
Operator: ‘I think it means the telephone point on the wall’.

RAC Motoring Services
Caller: ‘Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me
when I am traveling in Australia ?’
Operator: ‘ Doesn’t the Read the rest of this entry »