Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Martin McGuinness: Heads must roll at Northern Ireland Water

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says heads should roll at Northern Ireland Water

Heads should roll at the failed water company which has left thousands of people in Northern Ireland cut off, the deputy First Minister has said.

Martin McGuinness warned people needed to be held accountable after pregnant mothers, families with young children and the elderly were without water for days.

Although the situation is improving, Northern Ireland Water (NIW) said it could be next week before some remote areas are fixed.

Mr McGuinness said: "There has to be accountability and we are not going to under those circumstances stand here and make excuses for a body that has so miserably failed our citizens."

First Minister Peter Robinson added: "There has to be an accountability for what has taken place and we don't think anybody could suggest NIW have covered themselves with any glory over the past days and people must assess their positions."

He said if they did not, others could assess them for them. The ministerial Executive met at Stormont on Thursday to discuss an emergency which has left reservoirs low and tens of thousands of homes without water as NIW rotates service to conserve supplies.

The company has blamed much of the leakage on private businesses which have not been checked following this month's unprecedented cold spell. But the Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said work would continue to bring the arms-length body back into central government and there will be a review to try and ensure a repeat does not happen.

Extra staff have been drafted in to man call centres and extra tankers and engineers could also be on their way to Northern Ireland, Mr Robinson said.

The First Minister said: "We are not satisfied with the performance and are absolutely determined that it will not be repeated."

He added: "It has been shambolic at stages, it has been ineffective, it has not been the kind of organisation that has been fit for purpose."

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