Author Topic: Arlene's bigotry shines through  (Read 23603 times)

AQMP

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3229
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #375 on: April 12, 2018, 01:56:55 PM »
To tell you the truth it looks like massive incompetence in the higher echelons of the civil service was a huge factor in RHI.

+1

Incompetence is a strong theme within the managerial levels of NICS.  Public servants only interested in their next move to another department and/or a promotion regardless of previous record.

There's more to this than incompetence but that will be enough to get Arlene off the hook unless holy Joe Jonathan Bell can bring forth manna from heaven in the form of something tangible that ties Arlene into this a bit deeper than she's currently letting on.

The key point seems to be a meeting on 14 June 2011 (this actually happened while the consultant's report was still in draft form).  Senior civil servant Fiona Hepper told the inquiry that she took Foster through the costings of RHI in detail.  Foster says it is "unlikely that that happened" (note use of language, she doesn't say it definitely didn't happen).  The problem (for everyone) is that there is no written record of what was discussed at that meeting - which is mind numbing, given what has transpired.

Denn Forever

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4995
  • Any means neccessary
    • View Profile
    • Malcolm x
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #376 on: April 12, 2018, 02:00:13 PM »
First Rule of Fight Club.
I have more respect for a man
that says what he means and
means what he says...

johnnycool

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 154
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #377 on: April 12, 2018, 03:08:45 PM »
To tell you the truth it looks like massive incompetence in the higher echelons of the civil service was a huge factor in RHI.

+1

Incompetence is a strong theme within the managerial levels of NICS.  Public servants only interested in their next move to another department and/or a promotion regardless of previous record.

There's more to this than incompetence but that will be enough to get Arlene off the hook unless holy Joe Jonathan Bell can bring forth manna from heaven in the form of something tangible that ties Arlene into this a bit deeper than she's currently letting on.

So if that gets Nick Cotton off the hook will the shinners go back into Gov?

I don't think Arlene stepping aside was part of the botched deal a few weeks back, so I can't see this making a button of difference if Arlene isn't prepared to sign off on the ILA.

AQMP

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3229
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #378 on: April 12, 2018, 03:17:56 PM »
She's sounding a bit like Rory Harrison ;):

"Inquiry panel member Dr Keith MacLean notes that Mrs Foster says she didn't do anything wrong and he asks: "But did you do all the right things?"

Mrs Foster says that's for the panel to decide, but makes the point that she would've acted differently if she'd known some of what she knows now.

When pressed to give examples of things she didn't do but should or could have done, she says"none that spring to mind at present".

AQMP

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3229
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #379 on: April 12, 2018, 03:34:00 PM »
This is a judicial slap down:

"Asked about his (Andrew Crawford's) role, she says he would've read submissions and related reports that were provided to her to pick up matters that she needed to be aware of.  Dr Crawford has told the inquiry that he didn't read in detail crucial reports on which the scheme was based.

Inquiry chair Sir Patrick Coglhin tells Mrs Foster that it "concerns me" that Dr Crawford didn't go through the papers in detail given the complexity and massive cost of the scheme.  That just seems to me to be perhaps not the highest standard of governmental practice," he adds."


Ouch, I bet her face is quare and red!  Foster's biggest danger here is if she loses her temper (which she's prone to do)

AQMP

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3229
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #380 on: April 13, 2018, 04:33:40 PM »
Arlene's evidence today mostly could be summed up as:

"No-one told me"
"I wasn't made aware"
"I didn't know"
"It wasn't pointed out"
"It was X's responsibility"
"I should have been told"
"I didn't see those papers"
"It was never raised"

Though Coghlin nails her in this exchange:

There was "very little conversation at all" about the need for cost controls to be added to the RHI scheme, says Mrs Foster, and she claims it's not fair to suggest the necessity passed her by.

She says she believed that there was a mechanism by which the scheme could be suspended in an emergency but that "turns out to be the wrong understanding".

But the inquiry chair Sir Patrick Coghlin says the need for cost controls was raised in letters to her from the UK government's then energy minister Greg Barker, who was overseeing the similar RHI scheme that was in Great Britain.

When that's put to her, Mrs Foster accepts that Mr Barker - now Lord Barker of Battle - wrote to her and the department and alerted her to the issue of budget protection measures.

omagh_gael

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4185
  • '03, '05 + '08...not bad!
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #381 on: April 13, 2018, 04:52:40 PM »
Watched some of it today and was astounded by her lack of oversight in the whole affair. Unbelievable. She is throwing people under the bus left right and centre. One of the Chairmen could be seen more or less smirking at the response Foster was giving at the time. It already looks like she'll come out of this with serious damage and it hasn't even got to the juicy part of how cost controls were delayed for so long.

Orior

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9600
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #382 on: April 16, 2018, 01:28:58 PM »
What a pity that the tweet by Snarlene has been high-jacked.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/rivals-support-dups-foster-and-lockhart-duo-after-cruel-online-taunts-about-appearance-36809645.html

https://twitter.com/DUPleader/status/984887597318144002

There were some very relevant and accurate criticisms, but have gotten clouded by the horsey jokes.
Cover me in chocolate and feed me to the lesbians

johnnycool

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 154
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #383 on: April 17, 2018, 10:36:03 AM »
Dr Crawford has come out fighting and accusing department officials of deliberately misleading Arlene on what was the best scheme.

I wonder did he tell this to his relations as well!

AQMP

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3229
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #384 on: April 17, 2018, 11:53:42 AM »
A long read from Sam McBride but some eyebrow raising stuff as to how Foster ran (or didn't run) her department...

Arlene Foster signed ‘blank cheque’ on cash for ash despite no cost figure, RHI Inquiry told

https://inews.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/arlene-foster-signed-blank-cheque-on-cash-for-ash-despite-no-cost-figure-rhi-inquiry-told/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Arlene Foster signed “a blank cheque” by putting her signature to a statement that the RHI scheme was value for money – even though she had not been told what it would cost, the RHI inquiry has been told.  The revelation came today during further probing exchanges with Mrs Foster’s long-standing special adviser (Spad) which provided more insight into how the DUP leader operated as a government minister for almost a decade and how the ‘cash for ash’ scheme was flawed from the outset.  Dr Crawford candidly accepted that Mrs Foster’s signature had been little more than a “box-ticking exercise” because legally she had to sign the document in question to authorise officials to proceed with such a significant policy but she was reliant on her civil servants “to do their job”.

On a number of occasions today, Dr Crawford accepted that he failed to do something which he ought to have done. However, he also frequently blamed officials in Mrs Foster’s then department for lapses and on one occasion accused them of “deliberately misleading” the minister.  In April 2012, Mrs Foster signed a declaration which said: “I have read the Regulatory Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that the benefits justify the costs”, contained within a document known as a ‘Regulatory Impact Assessment’.  However, Mrs Foster had not been told the costs and, even though the statement was made personally by her, she was entirely reliant on her officials’ flawed views.  At the point when the scheme was being designed, paperwork frequently referred to it as commitment of £25 million – because that was the money to cover the period up to 2015 of a 20-year scheme.

When asked if he had considered how the department was committing itself to in total, Dr Crawford said today that he did not think that he had considered the total cost of the scheme, although he was aware that it was more than the £25 million mentioned in the documentation.  During robust questioning, Dr Crawford was asked whether it was “normal” for the minister to be asked to sign a statement which endorsed a scheme as value for money without being told exactly what it would cost.  The former Spad highlighted that the submission in question did say that a Northern Ireland RHI would deliver the highest renewable heat output and the best value – something which was an inaccurate summary of what the consultants commissioned by the department had found.

However, Dr Keith MacLean, the technical assessor to the inquiry, pointed out that the minister was signing to say that she was personally content with the costs of the scheme and its value for money. He told Mrs Foster’s former adviser – who remains as a DUP adviser – that “it seems strange to me” that there was no mention of what those costs were or any explanation of how it was value for money.  Dr Crawford said: “Looking at it back, in hindsight there should have been, and that should have been covered in the covering submission to the RIA.”  Referring to a similar document which Mrs Foster had previously signed despite it containing a blank box for the costs, Dr MacLean said that “effectively a blank cheque was being signed off” and asked: “Is this not another example of the minister signing off on something where the number hasn’t been filled in?”

Dr Crawford said: “The number hasn’t been filled in in terms of the submission to the minister but she is aware that it was with the casework committee and that this whole scheme had gone through the casework committee and the department, whose role was to go through the costs and benefit and make sure it was value for money.”  Asked by counsel to the inquiry Joseph Aiken whether it was common that these documents did not give the cost of the proposal, Dr Crawford said he would have expected to have been given that detail either in that document or in the covering submission to the minister.

Dr MacLean then asked: “You’re expecting to be made aware of all of these things. Now, if that was an expectation why would you not expect to be made aware on the face of the document like this about what the total cost is going to be and why would you not, when you don’t see that information, advise the minister not to sign a blank cheque?”  Dr Crawford said: “At that stage, what I’d have been doing would have been relying on the casework committee [of civil servants] and those that were on the committee had an experience and drilling down in casework and making sure that was the case.”  Dr MacLean said: “But why bother going to the minister at all if all you’re going to do is tick a box ‘oh, casework’s looked at it, so it must be OK, so we’ll do it as well’?”

Dr Crawford said it went to be minster because it had to be her who signed off such a significant document.  Dr MacLean asked: “Is that more than a box-ticking exercise?”  Dr Crawford answered candidly: “No, because, you know, it is the minister who has to sign it, but she was relying on the casework committee to do their job and to revert to her if there were any concerns with it.”

Judge ‘unconvinced’ as to why Spad never read £100k reports

Arlene Foster told the inquiry last week that she believed her Spad was at least reading the summary of reports which came to her and on which taxpayers had spent £100,000.  Dr Crawford now says that he did not read them. During one of several terse exchanges between inquiry chairman Sir Patrick Coghlin and Andrew Crawford,

The retired judge said to the former Spad: “You didn’t read any of the reports, we know that.”  Dr Crawford jumped in to say: “Sorry, we didn’t read any of the consultants’ reports; however, you know, we’ve been through the consultation documents and various submissions that came up from officials; yes, I did not read the consultants’ report, but I did not expect them to be at odds with what was in the submissions…”

Sir Patrick said: “Whatever you may have expected, you didn’t read the reports. You did rely on the bald statement that we see repeated on a number of occasions [that RHI was best value]…I remain unconvinced as to why the reports were not read at some stage; they weren’t even provided to you in the latter stage, you say.”

When asked if he had let the minister down by not reading the reports, he said: “Look, I let; I believe I let; I’m very sorry that I didn’t read it in detail to flag this up. However, I think the minister was asked the question ‘did she expect something to be different in the technical report compared to what she was either made aware of before or what was in the covering submission’, she would not expect that.

“So I do not think that there was an expectation there that I should be analysing technical reports and bringing things to her attention which are at odds of [sic] the submission that she is signing.  However, look – it is a regret of mine that I didn’t identify this and flag it up.”

I never saw minutes of any meeting in a decade, says Spad

Arlene Foster’s long-standing special adviser has said that in almost a decade at the heart of Stormont he never once saw minutes of a meeting involving his minister.  As the public inquiry delves deeper into the failure of Stormont officials to record key meetings, Andrew Crawford repeatedly insisted that the DUP had never asked for things not to be written down in order to avoid them becoming public under transparency laws, as claimed by the head of he civil service.  Dr Crawford was firmly told by inquiry chairman Sir Patrick Coghlin that he was wrong to describe Mr Sterling’s evidence about minute-taking as “innuendo”. Sir Patrick said: “It’s not an innuendo, so there’s no need to use works like innuendo, that is a fact. Whether you knew it or not will be the subject of the report eventually, but that is a fact.”

Later, Dr Crawford was asked if Mrs Foster’s private secretary, should have been saying to him or to the minister that other officials were failing to send her minutes of meetings within the minister, despite being obligated to do so.  Dr Crawford said: “It would be wrong for me to say that in this situation because I never seen [sic] any minutes from any meeting in any department so in this particular case, should [the private secretary] have came [sic] to me…and said ‘Andrew, I need a minute of that meeting’, bearing in mind that I didn’t do it before, it would be wrong for me to have said I should have done [sic] it in this case.”

Dr Keith MacLean asked whether it ought to have been “blatantly obvious” that minutes from ministerial meetings were never coming back to the minister’s private office.  Dr Crawford said: “I take your point, yes.” He said that he does not recall ever being aware of the requirement for a formal record of meeting involving the minister and for those minutes to be sent to the minister’s office.  When asked if he ought to have known about it to protect the minister, he said: “I ought to have known that notes weren’t taken of meetings…but in terms of it coming back down from the energy division to the private office, if I knew minutes were not being taken or notes were not being taken, call it what you may, I would have very much insisted that we get a copy of it…”

Barrister Joseph Aiken said: “The person whose job it was to make the record wasn’t making it, and the person whose job it was to receive the record wasn’t receiving it, and that person, who worked in with the minister and the special adviser…at no stage, based on what you’re explaining, felt the need to draw to your or the minister’s attention ‘we’re not getting any minutes of any of your meetings’.”  Dr Crawford said the issue was never drawn to his attention but that “key points from meetings that needed followed up” would have been sent to the minister’s office.

Mr Aiken asked: “How did it come to be that neither the official whose job it was to write them or the official whose job it was to receive them ever seem to have been concerned that they weren’t writing them or weren’t receiving them?”  Dr Crawford said that he did recall private office officials ensuring that those at meetings were taking notes of what was said but “I cannot answer how, if neither was doing their responsibility or duty, I don’t know where that happened or where that originated or where that started”.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 03:43:52 PM by AQMP »

Hereiam

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1736
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #385 on: April 17, 2018, 12:16:02 PM »
The largest chicken factory in the north was the main winner in this. They pay directly for the gas that heats all the chicken houses on the farmers land throughout the north. Maybe someone can tell me how many houses they control? This would be a colossal bill every month, along comes a scheme to heat these houses for nothing thus saving this chicken factory a fortune, tell me they had no role in this scheme

Dire Ear

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 520
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #386 on: April 17, 2018, 12:35:06 PM »
Rumours around Dungannon were that the chickenfactoryowners lawyers told Stormont to feck off and not to even bother attempting to take back or change any of the details of the initial contracts.

AQMP

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3229
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #387 on: April 17, 2018, 03:41:23 PM »
At the end of May 2013, the UK government's energy minister Greg Barker wrote to Mrs Foster in which he explained that his department was making major cost control changes to the Great Britain RHI scheme.  The letter was referred to the DETI officials who were dealing with Northern Ireland's RHI initiative.  They said it was "similar" to an earlier letter from Mr Barker and no action was therefore needed.  But that wasn't true - the earlier letter had referred to completely different matters - and the chance to tell Mrs Foster about the cost control changes wasn't taken.  Dr Crawford says neither he nor Mrs Foster received the letter but "the minister should've seen all the correspondence coming from a Westminster department".

Foster may dodge a bullet on corruption but it's clear she didn't have the first notion about what RHI was, how it operated, how much it cost, who was running it and as important neither did her closest SPAD.  Why would all that be important when you're obsessed with making sure that street names in Irish don't appear and that gay people can't get married.


johnnycool

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 154
    • View Profile
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #388 on: April 17, 2018, 03:52:39 PM »
At the end of May 2013, the UK government's energy minister Greg Barker wrote to Mrs Foster in which he explained that his department was making major cost control changes to the Great Britain RHI scheme.  The letter was referred to the DETI officials who were dealing with Northern Ireland's RHI initiative.  They said it was "similar" to an earlier letter from Mr Barker and no action was therefore needed.  But that wasn't true - the earlier letter had referred to completely different matters - and the chance to tell Mrs Foster about the cost control changes wasn't taken.  Dr Crawford says neither he nor Mrs Foster received the letter but "the minister should've seen all the correspondence coming from a Westminster department".

Foster may dodge a bullet on corruption but it's clear she didn't have the first notion about what RHI was, how it operated, how much it cost, who was running it and as important neither did her closest SPAD.  Why would all that be important when you're obsessed with making sure that street names in Irish don't appear and that gay people can't get married.

I think she knew only too well but Sam McBride believes there was a culture of sure Whitehall is picking up the tab, no need to worry and feather our friends nest.

The shit only hit the fan when it became apparent that wasn't the case and it was out of the local pot!

She'll get away Scot free on this one, but her competence is seriously under scrutiny not that that will matter to the voting base in Fermanagh or beyond.

Denn Forever

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4995
  • Any means neccessary
    • View Profile
    • Malcolm x
Re: Arlene's bigotry shines through
« Reply #389 on: April 17, 2018, 05:35:23 PM »
Are Sinn Féin doing the right  thing  by not putting the boot in?
I have more respect for a man
that says what he means and
means what he says...