31/01/2011

NIHE Winter Woes Back In Focus

Harsh weather compensation is in the news again as a Sinn Fein MLA and member of the Stormont Social Development Committee seeks clarification with regards to a compensation scheme for those NI Housing Executive tenants who had their property damaged as a result of the severe winter weather over Christmas.

Carál Ní Chuilín, has stated that the Social development Minister, Alex Attwood needs to "provide clarity on whether or not he has made a formal approach to the Office of First and deputy First Minister".

Ms Ní Chuilín said: "Alex Attwood appeared in front of the Social Development Committee in order to answer pressing questions on the NI Housing Executive and its role during the severe winter weather over Christmas.

"Many people were left for considerable periods with no heating and many more had their homes and furniture damaged by frozen and burst pipes.
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"Hundreds of people were left in appalling conditions over Christmas," she said.

"While at the Committee, and subsequently in media reports, the Minster has alluded to the fact that he has contacted both Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson in relation to compensation for those affected giving tenants a hope that something would be resolved and painting the Minster as proactive," she said.

"However it is a great concern to myself and others that, in fact, these approaches have not happened.

"Is the Minister in it for the media spin, for the kudos of actually looking as if he is working to resolve this issue, building Housing Executive tenants expectations, only to pass the buck when he finds he cannot deliver?" she fumed.

"At best the Minister is muddled, at worst he has misled the committee and the public. What he needs to do now is come forward and provide immediate clarity on compensation for NI Housing Executive tenants."

(BMcC/GK)

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