Nipsa probes government settlement

While solicitors in Northern Ireland have resolved a government court case, trade union Nipsa is angry that there has not been more transparency about the settlement.

The Department of Finance had been faced with a lawsuit brought by a consortium called Partenaire after it failed to secure a contract for a number civil service office buildings.

Northern Ireland solicitors settled the case out of court, meaning the Workplace 2010 programme can go ahead.
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But Nipsa wants to know exactly what was agreed through solicitors and has claimed it will use the Freedom of Information Act if answers are not forthcoming.

Nipsa's general secretary, John Corey, was quoted in the Belfast Telegraph as saying: "The Northern Ireland Executive is planning to sign up to one of the biggest Private Finance Initiative (PFI) privatisations in Northern Ireland.

"We believe this PFI deal will cost taxpayers far more in the long run and will damage the future provision of public services."

He added: "Ministers have claimed that the decisions on this PFI will be based on value for money.

"We are demanding that the assessment of value for money must be public and cover all the costs involved including the cost of this legal settlement with Partenaire."

Either Land Securities Trillium or Telereal will now attempt to buy around 80 civil service buildings and lease them back to the government over 20 years.

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