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Northern Ireland’s minister for Sport Nelson Mc Causland has taken umbrage with the football authorities and the Ulster Scots Agency over their handing of finances.

In the case of the Football authorities he has spoken of a lack of justification for an alleged waste of £.5m.

It is appropriate that Mr Mc Causland shows himself to be vigilant when it comes to how money particularly public money is spent.

What is worrying however is Mr Mc Causland’s failure to challenge even more serious abuses of public money.

What of the millions of pounds squandered on business plans for the Maze which was supposed to be a multi purpose stadium embracing all sports?

What of the monies spent by Belfast city hall in coming up with alternative plans?

The waste of public money didn’t stop the DUP taking out ‘the forty foot pole’ to sink the Maze project.

Millions were spent on plans to cull councils across Northern Ireland, the goal being we were told, to save millions through streamlining, procurement etc.

What did the DUP do with this plan after a multi million pounds splurge which ridiculously included potential payoff deals of up to £30.000 for long serving councillors not seeking re-election?

They drove a horse and cart through the project despite a deal having been done with Sinn Fein two years ago to cut the number of councils from 26 to 11.

The latest evidence of indecision making by the DUP emerged over Assembly expenses and resettlement payments.

The substance of this was agreed across the board in the Assembly Commission and yet the DUP ‘pulled’ this much to the chagrin of Speaker Hay with just hours to go before it was to come before the Assembly.

Add water charges to this. Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has decided in his head this will have to happen. He has incurred the wrath of his boss Peter Robinson for his openness on this subject at the Executive table. I have been told by a DUP insider the First minister has made his feelings known to Mr Wilson on this matter which could prove very controversial for the DUP in the run up to the Assembly election.

Sources close to the Executive were told to tell the media the financial crisis is much worse than the public realise.

Should the public be surprised if monies are spent as if they are going out of fashion with nothing to show for this?

Finally, what of that quality control grouping proposed by Peter Robinson many moons ago the purpose of which was to monitor departmental spending and to act as the custodian of joined up good value government?

[This article originally appeared on Slugger O’Toole]

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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