Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Alex Attwood 'snub' annoys colleagues

Two MLAs have complained that the Executive's recent U-turn over funding the councils shake-up was revealed in the Belfast Telegraph before the Assembly had been informed.

Anna Lo, chair of the committee which monitors Minister Alex Attwood, suggested that it was "remiss" of him not to have informed MLAs first.

And former president of the Northern Ireland Local Goverment Association, the DUP's Peter Weir, said he was disappointed that MLAs were not told formally.

Letters from Mr Attwood were received by councils on the same day that details were reported in this newspaper last week.

The volte-face by the Executive came after Mr Attwood was summoned to a meeting with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, which was also attended by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson.

In response to the complaints, Mr Attwood said: "There was a lot of speculation about what was or was not agreed at (that) meeting.

"I think it was my responsibility as a minister to let the people on the front line know, the councillors of Northern Ireland who were hearing from others – not from me – about the scale of the funding package."

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