Blair asks if no lessons learnt from previous scandals, following publication of Civil Service action plan

Alliance MLA John Blair has asked have no lessons been learnt from RHI and other scandals, following the publication of an action plan designed to improve governance across the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Environment John Blair Civil Service

The plan follows an independent review launched to examine the handling of concerns raised by former Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) employee Dr Tamara Bronckaers around breaches of animal welfare.

“Public concerns were rightly raised by the series of events leading up to the publication of this report,” said Alliance DAERA spokesperson Mr Blair.

“It has once again raised the need for good governance across Departments, and openness and transparency relating to that. Proper process should always be followed and assurances given that is the case.

“Departments have a duty of care to their staff, particularly in the current circumstances without Ministers in place, and their welfare should always be a priority. That must include whistle-blowers. Questions must be asked as to whether lessons have been learnt from RHI and other scandals in the past, as we are seeing the same issues raise their head again.

“The other main issue arising from this is animal welfare needs to be taken seriously – concerns, especially those raised by veterinary officers and other senior professionals – need to be acted upon and enforcement action undertaken when that is the recommendation of the official involved.”