Councillor hits out at DUP over DSD report

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Ulster Unionist Councillor Alexander Redpath has hit out at Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey for failing to hand over a report into the allegations by Councillor Jenny Palmer that she had been pressurised by Mr Storey’s special advisor, Stephen Brimstone, into changing her vote at a Housing Executive Board meeting.

Mr Storey was told to hand over the Civil Service report to the Social Development Committee at Stormont but, to date, he has only supplied a redacted copy of the report, with many aspects blanked out.

Accusing the DUP of stalling the handover of the report, Mr Redpath said: ““Serious allegations were raised by the BBC’s Spotlight team about inappropriate political inference in the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

“The Ulster Unionist Party has regularly demanded full transparency on what the investigation found.

The Minister of Finance and Personnel bizarrely claims his Department had no role in it, despite an employee writing it, and the Minister of Social Development – who Mr Brimstone works directly for – refuses to comment saying it is a private personnel matter. Despite Special Advisers working for the benefit of Ministers and their Parties, they are all classed as temporary civil servants and subsequently are paid entirely out of the public purse.

“There have been serious allegations of wrongdoing made, yet the investigation into these remains buried.

“I believe the DUP are engaging in delaying tactics to halt the publication of this report before the upcoming elections.”