NI Water chief 'poised to quit'


Northern Ireland Water chief executive Laurence MacKenzie

Chief executive of Northern Ireland Water (NIW) Laurence MacKenzie is poised to step down over his organisation’s mishandling of the region’s water crisis.

A spokesman for the company said Mr MacKenzie, who has held the £250,000 post since 2009, had “not tendered his resignation”.

But it is understood he is set to step aside and the move could come as early as Wednesday when the crisis-hit Northern Ireland Water (NIW) board is expected to meet.

Tens of thousands of homes and business were left without water when arctic weather around Christmas was followed by a swift thaw that ruptured pipes.

But NIW failed to cope with the public outcry for information and is accused of bungling efforts to help stricken families.

As speculation grew over Mr MacKenzie’s future following a meeting of the company’s board earlier, a NIW spokesman said: “Laurence MacKenzie’s position was not discussed at today’s meeting of the Northern Ireland water board and he has not tendered his resignation.”

The company declined to comment further, but it is understood that with the board due to have a further meeting on Wednesday, the resignation could be tabled at that point, a move which would end days of speculation over Mr MacKenzie’s future.

As news emerged of Mr MacKenzie’s impending resignation, a leading critic said he should first give a full account of the crisis to a Stormont scrutiny committee which the NIW chief was expected to address on Thursday.

A member of Stormont’s Regional Development Committee Conall McDevitt said Mr MacKenzie had a duty to be accountable to the committee.

“If he was to resign before Thursday that would be a dereliction of his duty,” he said.

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