Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

DUP aide Stephen Brimstone yet to apologise to councillor Jenny Palmer over Red Sky row

DUP special adviser Stephen Brimstone is one of the main sources of political guidance for social development minister Nelson McCausland, pictured
DUP special adviser Stephen Brimstone is one of the main sources of political guidance for social development minister Nelson McCausland, pictured

A senior DUP official accused of attempting to pressurise a party councillor over a controversial housing contract has still not offered her a public apology – six months after it was expected.

Special adviser Stephen Brimstone, who is to appear before a Stormont committee tomorrow, was expected to issue an apology to Lisburn councillor Jenny Palmer following the claims in a BBC NI Spotlight programme. The allegations are being investigated by the Assembly's social development committee.

Mrs Palmer confirmed yesterday she had not yet been offered an apology – six months after she and Mr Brimstone met party leader Peter Robinson.

He had been accused of attempting to pressurise Mrs Palmer to change her vote at a board meeting of the Housing Executive, which was discussing its £8m-a-year contract with east Belfast company Red Sky.

Mr Brimstone, a special adviser to Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, was not available for comment yesterday, but had previously disputed the accuracy of Mrs Palmer's assertions.

Mrs Palmer broke a two-year silence over allegations of political interference in the awarding of contracts by the Housing Executive when she told the programme that Mr Brimstone had tried to pressure her into voting to extend the contract of a firm reportedly billing taxpayers for work which was never carried out.

In August Mrs Palmer and Mr Brimstone held a meeting with Mr Robinson and afterwards she was shown a statement in which Mr Brimstone was said to have apologised to her.

She expected it to be issued publicly within a week, and on that basis agreed to remain a member of the DUP.

But the apology has never been made public.

There was no comment from the DUP yesterday.

Mrs Palmer said she did not want to make any comment either.

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