An SDLP MLA has branded a planned Code of Conduct for council tendering as “flannel” that will not stop the Lock Keeper’s Inn scenario from happening again.
John Dallat also warned that the investigation being carried out by Castlereagh Borough Council into the Iris Robinson scandal cannot be independent as the council is part of the situation that arose.
He called for a “genuinely independent inquiry”, warning that the affair has wider repercussions than just within the council area.
Mr Dallat was speaking after Stormont’s Environment Committee received a response from the Department of the Environment (DOE) to questions raised over the Robinson affair.
In a letter to the committee, the DOE said that to ensure public confidence in the planning system, it would be putting in place new guidance and new ethical standards on tendering, including a mandatory Code of Conduct.
The Planning Service is in the process of drafting supplementary guidance that will assist councillors, the letter said.
Mr Dallat told colleagues the response was very welcome but did not address the issues around the Lock Keepers Inn and doesn’t spell out what is the mandatory Code of Conduct.
“The department can’t sit on its hands in this one,” he said.
“Thanks very much for something we already knew.”