TUV leader Jim Allister has hit out at the salary of £30,000 a year being paid to the Chair of the Maze Regeneration Board.
Mr Allister said this amounts to £1,000 an hour for attendance at Board meetings. However, the Chairman, Mr Terence Brannigan, said his role goes far beyond merely attending meetings.
“As announced when he was appointed, the chair of the Maze Regeneration Board earns £30,000 per annum plus expenses,“ explained Mr Allister. “Members of the board earn £5,000. Due to the answer of an Assembly question which I received today we now know that the Board met on just ten occasions in 2013/14 and ten times in 2014/15. I am advised that each meeting lasted for approximately three hours.
“This means that the chair is earning £1,000 for every hour the board meets. It seems obvious to me that this is an unacceptable and scandalous waste of public money.
“The chair of the Board, Mr Brannigan, is of course also chair of Tourism NI for which he earns a further £25,165 per annum.”
Mr Brannigan hit back at Mr Allister, saying: “I, together with my colleagues on the Board, continue to oversee the ongoing management of the site and the governance of a Corporation which remains committed to reaching agreement on delivery of its ‘peace to prosperity’ vision for the site.
“In this capacity I continue to liaise regularly with the Corporation’s senior management team, Ministers, Departmental officials and key stakeholders.
“The Development Corporation currently has a small team of staff fulfilling site management, finance and corporate governance duties relating to the Corporation’s continuing responsibilities as landowner of the Maze Long Kesh site which, at 347 acres, is twice the size of Titanic Quarter.
“The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) occupies the 55 acre Balmoral Park area of the site and hosts a range of events attracting some 130,000 visitors throughout the year. Development Corporation staff and Board members work closely with the RUAS in relation to these events and, in doing so, engage in the appropriate inter-agency planning required to successfully and safely deliver on such events.
“Furthermore, as a Corporation we have ongoing liaison with the RUAS in relation to the relocation of its exhibition and events venue from Kings Hall site to Maze Long Kesh which will give a year-round presence on the site.
“The Development Corporation Board continues to meet regularly and Board members, including myself, also serve on a range of Board committees that oversee the key functions of the Corporation. ”