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.

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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!

🙂


Real IRA was behind army attack – BBC News

March 8, 2009

I am saddened by this attack. It is something that we do not need here.

“A Dublin-based newspaper has received a call supposedly from the Real IRA which claimed responsibility for the attack at Massereene army base.

Using a recognised codename, it claimed responsibility for the attack in which two soldiers were killed.

Four other people, including two pizza delivery men, were also injured when gunmen struck at the Antrim base.

The prime minister described the attack as “evil” and said “no murderer” would derail the peace process.

The soldiers are the first to be murdered in Northern Ireland since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was killed by an IRA sniper in 1997.”

Step back guys.. we have had peace too long to be dragged back to that mire we were in.

I am pleased that Martin McGuinness has condemned the attacks. He said:-

He said the gunmen would not achieve their aim and would have “no chance of bringing the peace process down”.

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All I can say to the attackers is: Stop…now. We have moved on. It is time you moved on as well.

BUT.. a word to the PSNI,  Britsh Government and our Unionist politicians…. please..please.. do NOT repeat the mistakes of the 70s and 80s. Do NOT go the heavy handed policing route because of a few malcontents. You did this before and look at the cost we had to endure. Think before you react.

Our thoughts are with the families of the dead and injured.


And…. it came to pass in the year 2007

January 4, 2009

So someone sent me this…and it made me smile!
___
And…. it came to pass in the year 2007, that verily, the Lord came unto Noah, (who was now living in Ballymoney), and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see all manner of evils, terrorists in government and the end of all flesh before me. Build me another Ark and save two of every living thing, along with a few good Free Presbyterians.”

And he said...

And he said...

And lo, He gave Noah the CAD drawings, saying, “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard –
but no Ark. “Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the
Ark?”
“Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed.

“I needed Building Control approval and I’ve been arguing with the Fire Brigade about the need for a sprinkler system.

“My neighbours claim that I should have obtained planning permission for building the Ark in my garden because it is development of the site, even though in my view it is a temporary structure. We had to then go to appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission for a decision.

“Once Seymour Sweeney saw what I was up to, he submitted alternative plans with the backing of the local MP, and you have no idea how hard it was convincing a Paisley that you were actually on my side.

“Then the Department of the Environment demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

“Getting the wood was another problem. All the decent trees have Tree Preservation Orders on them and we live in a Site of Special Scientific Interest set up in order to protect the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go! And in July I had to pay off racketeers as insurance against the local kids taking the wood for the Eleventh Night bonfire.

“When I started gathering the animals, the USPCA sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. They said if he spotted me with any pit bulls, I would never see the Ark float.

“Nor was I aware that marching the animals on to the Ark two by two constituted a parade, so I had to apply to the Parades Commission for permission. They just couldn’t get their heads round the fact that the end of the world is nigh, and that telling people it was could maybe even have a positive effect on community relations.

“Then the Borough Council, the DoE and the Rivers Authority ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact stud on your proposed flood.

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on how many disabled carpenter’s I’m supposed to hire for my building team. The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only accredited workers with Ark-building experience.

“Then Harland & Wolff stepped in, and said the project hadn’t been subject to normal tendering practices, as they hadn’t been allowed to present a business plan, so the whole thing went to judicial review. It didn’t help that the judge’s grandfather had worked on the Titanic and thought I was taking the piss.

“To make matters worse, Customs and Excise seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. After several neighbours accused me of being ‘on drugs’, the Assets Recovery Agency took some persuading that I had managed to put this project together without any visible means of income after I said I was relying on divine intervention.

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish
this Ark.”

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched
across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy Northern Ireland?”

“No,” said the Lord. “The Assembly beat me to it.”


Ness Woods, Derry, Northern Ireland

April 8, 2008

Peaceful…. eh?


Diamond Dan

April 5, 2008

Congratulations to the Orange Order. You have made my day. I….. never….never ever thought that anyone could come up with..

Diamond Dan… the Orangeman –

Daimond Dan

Thank you….. made my day!

Now when Read the rest of this entry »


Time to Talk: Peacelines:Bishop Street/Fountain, Derry

March 15, 2008

I’ve been watching these “Peacelines” for too many years to remember and my heart goes out to those who have to live there. The pictures here show such a peaceful scene in the early October sunshine that you could be mistaken for thinking that life along the line can’t be really all that bad.

Bishop Street, Derry: Catholic side on right: October 2007
bishop-street_oct2007_1.jpg

A little bit of sunshine, Read the rest of this entry »