Ulster Unionist Social Development Committee member, Michael Copeland MLA has called for the Social Development Minister to carry out an urgent inquiry into the events which led to Trinity Housing being asked to pay back £835,000 of public money.
“It is extremely concerning to learn that Trinity Housing Association bought this site with tax payer’s money and clarity is needed on what assurances, if any, were given at the time that the planning permission to build social housing would be granted.’
“Having looked at the facts I am also keen to know if there was any conflict of interest with any of the parties involved. This is something that I will be raising both with the Minister for Social Development and at the next meeting of the Social Development Committee.’
“Answers must be provided as to why such a large amount of money from the public purse was handed over for a site which had only been acquired by the developer 48 hours previously. What knowledge could Trinity Housing Association have possible had about the suitability of the site for social housing?’
“This entire saga poses many questions. I will be writing to the Minister of Social Development to ask that he carry out an inquiry into these events immediately. There must be answers as to why public money was used in such ambiguous circumstances.’
“Given the significant public concern over the relationship between some political representatives and developers in Northern Ireland, it is vital that the relationship between these parties and the two Departments involved in the sale is fully explored to ensure that no further damage is caused to the public’s confidence in the administration.