Belfast Telegraph

MLAs should pipe down and stop the blame game

By Lindy McDowell

Were you off over Christmas? Not in the vacationing sense. But in terms of the water supply, operational tap and flushing loo.

That's been the one major talking point in Northern Ireland over the last couple of weeks.

That and the key question of who to blame.

The sight of Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and Conor Murphy lined up like The Three (sub-zero) Degrees to express their "disappointment" at the "shambolic" handling of the crisis by NI Water just about summed up the farce.

NI Water is a government body. Ultimately the Executive is in charge of this.

So no matter how much Peter, Martin and Conor may try to squirm out of it, the buck - and in this instance the bucket - stops with them.

We don't need another money-wasting inquiry to tell us that. Let's just save the cash and put it towards new piping. When Martin McGuinness does his ludicrous rap about the "well-heeled" does it not occur to him that people think he's pretty well-heeled himself?

And how is it our Teflon Executive Team always manage to offload blame for what is their responsibility?

Why are we - media and public - so damned soft that we let them off with it time and time again? Faced with the horrific price of mopping up after this latest crisis something will now have to give. So inevitably the old question of a tap tax raises it head.

But how about a ministerial resignation? A 40% cutback in MLAs? Several useless quangos (and their expensive office bills) ditched? It may not cover the whole bill for renewing our archaic water system. But it would be a fitting start.

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