I am told yet again fur flew at yesterday’s meeting of the Executive.The ministers learned how DEL/Health and Education are getting a ‘dig out’over the next four years. To the chagrin of the SDLP’s Alex Atwood the RoyalExchange project took a hit

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I am told yet again fur flew at yesterday’s meeting of the Executive.
The ministers learned how DEL/Health and Education are getting a ‘dig
out’ over the next four years. To the chagrin of the SDLP’s Alex
Atwood the Royal Exchange project took a hit to the tune of £70m. Once
again Health Minister Michael Mc Gimpsey was in the eye of the storm.
If what I have been told is correct, there is a crisis in government
here. A source in a position to know informs me the accounting officer
of the Department of Health Andrew McCormick wrote a memo to effect
that come April 1the books in his Department “don’t balance.” Two
sources close to the Executive’s action say First Minister Peter
Robinson said the permanent secretary of the Department of Health
should be ‘replaced.’ It is being claimed that Alex Atwood who spoke
for an estimated 40 minutes advised Mr Robinson that the thrust of
what he was saying amounted to “dangerous talk.” There are various
claims of finger wagging and raised voices with Martin Mc Guinness
allegedly accusing Alex Atwood of using his Blackberry to release
details of the budget during the meeting. It is said that Atwood
offered to yield up his phone so that the deputy First minister could
check the veracity of his denial. Mr McGuinness did not take up the
SDLP man’s challenge. A demand by Atwood for Matin McGuinness to
withdraw his charge went unheeded. There is a budget despite the
raucousness of the Executive meeting but will the robust exchanges
re-surface on the floor of the Assembly?www.EamonnMallie.com
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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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