McGuinness says UUP leader is a 'major disappointment'


Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described UUP leader Mike Nesbitt's performance in political negotiations as a "major disappointment", on 24 March 2014.

Mr Nesbitt had criticised Mr McGuinness's inclusion of the word "identity" in describing the issues covered by the Haass talks.

The deputy first minister said Mr Nesbitt "has turned out to be someone who has not contributed in any serious way to finding solutions to very serious problems".

Later in Question Time, Mr McGuinness accused the Ulster Unionists of "grandstanding" ahead of the European and local council elections.

The deputy first minister was also asked by the DUP's Adrian McQuillan if the "revelation" of the OTR (On the Run) letters had damaged the prospects for the talks process on flags, parading and the past.

Mr McGuinness said he did not think it had necessarily harmed the process.

The agriculture minister said she wanted to play a role in securing jobs for some of the 300 Driver and Vehicle Agency employees who were to lose their posts in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Michelle O'Neill said she had asked her permanent secretary to consider the matter in light of her decision to move the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture (DARD) to Ballykelly.

"If there is any way that we can work to assist those people then I'm prepared to do that," she said.

In reply to a question from the UUP's Leslie Cree, Mrs O'Neill said that 642 people, or 86% of DARD headquarters staff, had indicated that they did not wish to move to Ballykelly.

She said that in the wider civil service more than 1,100 staff had indicated that they wanted to work in that area.

The minister said she had previously announced that not all jobs would be relocated to Ballykelly.

Mr Cree said he believed the minister was acting against the wishes of her department and no business case had been prepared.

Mrs O'Neill said her officials were working with her.

"We have been working very hard to bring forward a business case," she said.

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