OFMDFM threatened with legal action by one of its own quangos

Mike Nesbitt said he was exasperated by the development
Mike Nesbitt said he was exasperated by the development

A quango run by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) is threatening to sue OFMDFM in a case which a senior MLA has described as “another fine mess”.

The Children’s Commissioner has issued its parent department with a pre-action legal letter after alleging that OFMDFM ignored its own equality scheme over legislation which it has drafted to outlaw age discrimination in the supply of goods, facilities and services.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt, who is chairman of the OFMDFM scrutiny committee, said he was exasperated by the “latest malfunction” at OFMDFM.

Mr Nesbitt said it was an “extraordinary situation” and added: “This is giving rise to the possibility that taxpayers’ money will have to be used for an expensive legal case between two bodies also funded by the beleaguered taxpayer.

“Evelyn Collins, chief executive of the Equality Commission which will adjudicate on the letters, said she could not recall a government agency issuing a pre-action letter against their parent department in her 15 years with the commission.

“This can all be traced back, predictably, to the inability of the DUP and Sinn Féin to agree.”