FOR years local councils have had a consultative voice in the planning process.
The plan under the Review of Public Administration is for planning to become the responsibility of local councils.
There already were some question marks against the new 11 councils taking over planning, but against the context of the furore surrounding Iris Robinson’s alleged access to property developers’ cheque books the entire planning process has come under the spotlight.
A recent meeting of the Assembly’s environment committee concluded that it needed to write to the DUP Environment Minister about what role the committee should have in any investigations into the controversy surrounding the Robinson issue.
Which can only lead to a reasonable person to ask how many investigations are needed? Westminster, the Assembly Ombudsman, Castlereagh council…is this a case of investigation envy.
Of course, it isn’t just the Robinson family that has been hitting headlines. The Adams family has had its share of unwelcome time under the glare of the media spotlight, with allegations of unreported allegations against Liam Adams, brother of Sinn Féin party leader Gerry Adams.
Ian Paisley Junior has asked the Assembly Ombudsman to investigate whether Gerry broke any rules. Sure what’s another investigation among friends? After all, if policing and justice is devolved, our MLAs will need something to talk about.