FURTHER light has been shed on the decision making process leading to Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill’s announcement that her departmental headquarters were to be moved to Ballykelly.
This follows last week’s interview with the Sentinel, when the Minister vowed that the move should be completed in 2015 despite the concerns of public sector worker’s union NIPSA.
The decision-making process leading up to the Minister’s announcement has come under intense scrutiny, with various MLAs plying Ms O’Neill with questions in addition to the concerns raised by NIPSA.
Now, the Minister has revealed that the ‘shortlisting process’ focussed on District Council areas, rather than specific sites, in order to decide where to best to move her department’s headquarters.
She had been asked by TUV MLA Jim Allister, “which specific sites within each listed District Council area were considered as options when making the decision to relocate the Department’s headquarters?”
Michelle O’Neill replied: “The shortlisting process considered District Council areas, not specific sites. This process resulted in the top two District Council areas being in the North West. It was the availability of the Executive owned site at Ballykelly that was the final determining factor that I used to decide on the location.”