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.


I know a wee spot…….

September 5, 2007

Lucky enough to take a little stroll the other day through a woodland walk just outside Derry. As the DOE guide to Ness Wood says:-

“Ness Wood Country Park comprises 50 hectares of mixed woodland known as Ness, Ervey and Tamnymore, in the sheltered Burntollet Valley. The main feature of the Park is a spectacular waterfall (the highest in the province), from which the Park derives its name, based on the Irish “an las” or Ness meaning waterfall. After the last ice age, ten thousand years ago, the old Burntollet River course was choked by glacial boulder clay deposits. In eroding a new channel through the underlying metamorphic schist rocks, the river has created the magnificient waterfall, gorges, potholes and rapids which are a feature of Ness Wood today.”

Now I couldn’t put it better meself – so I haven’t! I’ll content myself with posting one wee picture instead:-


Well…. maybe the place is soooooo nice I’m tempted to show off some of my other shots. “Ah… go on go on go,” I hear you say. So… I will!

How’s this:-


What with the September mild weather and a wee bit of run in the Burntollet River it makes for a really nice spot for a stroll. You’ll travel many a mile before seeing a place as nice. It’s one of those places that Northern Ireland does so well. Under-stated and under-rated but purely magical for the soul.

You should try it…. 🙂

PS: Oh.. I wonder where else is worth an Autumn visit? Any suggestions?


July 11, 2007

So.. here’s the thing…

water – fresh beautiful and drinkable –glass-of-water.jpg falls from the sky, after being sucked from the sea by the fabulous winds of nature, fired into the upper atmosphere, then condensed by the cold of our wonderful planet’s stratosphere. Among it’s better qualities is the fact that it is free and abundant (well in Northern Ireland anyway!) – all because nature has done it’s work so brilliantly and at the end of the day it has cost us nought to produce in it’s raw state… yes? So far you agree?

And then… we (human beings) plonk ourselves right in that fabulous cycle and, basically, do our very best to mess it up! Instead of managing water —– it falls here, we need it there, so let’s move it…(?!!!!??) —– we, as a population, instead spend our money on things like bombing ourselves into oblivion. Well.. we bomb our less vocal world constituents into oblivion .. don’t we? Meantime, of course, this precious resource that falls freely from the sky is wasted so badly that those who need it don’t have it. The spectacle last week of fire crews in England pumping away water from a reservoir to avoid it’s collapse is just one example of how badly we manage our water resources. (I always imagined that reservoirs were contructed to HOLD water…. silly me!)

And the next thing we’ll know is Read the rest of this entry »