Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Stormont's OFMDFM has no idea how many media queries it ignores

First Minister Peter Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness's department has admitted it has no idea how many media queries it ignores.

The Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister has a particularly poor record in responding to enquiries from journalists.

It is common for OFMDFM to simply ignore questions when Peter Robinson or Martin McGuinness cannot agree on an answer.

The Belfast Telegraph has regularly submitted queries to OFMDFM where no answer has been provided.

Using Freedom of Information legislation, this newspaper asked for a breakdown of how many media enquiries were received in the last year, and how many of these were answered.

OFMDFM said it did not hold the information.

The department confirmed it employs seven Press officers.

However, it was unable to state how much was being spent on its press department.

Among the issues this newspaper has submitted to OFMDFM for comment – and which have gone unanswered – was a recent claim from DUP MP Sammy Wilson that Sinn Fein's budgeting skills "were a recipe for disaster", putting funding for the Historical Abuse Inquiry at risk.

Other issues included the racial equality strategy and the non-implementation of the Defamation Act, which would reform our outdated libel laws.

The Belfast Telegraph contacted OFMDFM to see if it wished to discuss its poor response to media enquiries – but we did not receive an answer.

Watchdog acts over Stormont's refusal to answer questions 

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