Northern Ireland’s dilapidated water system was starved of a much-needed £25M, which was given to the UK Government instead.
The Department of Finance and Personnel clawed back the money despite the water pipes and treatment system being in desperate need of massive investment.
Tens of thousands of people were forced to go without running water over Christmas and New Year when the inevitable happened and pipes cracked under the strain of the unusually cold weather.
Northern Ireland Water (NIW) said years of underinvestment caused the pipes to burst.
Democratic Unionist Alastair Ross was handed the information by NIW, revealing that £24.9M had been handed over to central government.
“People will find it quite astonishing that in December past, NIW surrendered nearly £25M of capital funding in the monitoring round process,” said Ross. “This was the period of time when tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland faced the Christmas period without any running water.”
“One has to ask why NIW were unable to spend the £25M when the need for improving the water infrastructure in Northern Ireland is well-known.”
“This indicates poor financial management within NIW, and a lack of clear leadership within that organisation far beyond the former chief executive (Laurence MacKenzie).”