Ilex critic McCann calls for ‘simple and speedy’ inquiry

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Long-standing Ilex critic Eamonn McCann says he feels vindicated by the decision of the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) to wind down the urban regeneration company next year.

He’s called for a “simple, speedy inquiry” into the Ilex years, from its establishment in 2003 through its management over the past decade.

Mr McCann, whose People Before Profit colleagues ran for the 2011 Derry City Council elections on a ticket that included as one of its main planks an ‘Abolish Ilex’ call, said: “I feel vindicated. Ilex was a creation of the Strategic Investment Board (SIB), an entirely unelected outfit spending millions of public money every year but effectively accountable to no one.

“It was supposedly answerable to OFMDFM, but OFMDFM simply left stewardship of these vast public resources to an unelected organisation.”

He continued: “It isn’t possible to understand the roots of this fiasco without taking the role of the SIB into account. There should now be a simple, speedy inquiry into this affair. How were decisions made, and by whom, and on what basis? To whom did Ilex report, and to whom did that group report to?”

Mr McCann went on to reiterate his call for Ebrington to be used as a base for university expansion.

“I renew my call for an urgent, serious feasibility study of the possibility of using the Ebrington site as the campus for a new university.

“This isn’t a new idea, but it’s an idea whose time may have come.

“In the meantime all minutes of meetings and other documentation relevant to Ilex should be published, so that the people of Derry can make their minds up in an informed way not just about responsibility for the past but about how to handle public projects like this better in future.”