A spokesperson for The Executive Office said:
"Following the recent Assembly election the First Minister and deputy First Minister have been considering how best to restructure Executive communications. In light of the formation of the new Executive, as well as other parties opting for opposition roles, Ministers have made clear more normalised processes of conducting business will apply. This includes the creation of a new post of Executive Press Secretary and the subsequent appointment of Mr David Gordon to fill it.
“It is normal practice in politics in London and Dublin as well as other devolved governments for Ministers to select the people who provide them specialist communications advice. Those trying to throw dirt know that very well.
“The appointment of the Executive Press Secretary is in full accordance with the powers at the disposal of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and they make this Order under the powers conferred on them by section 23 (3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The Civil Service Commissioners (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 is not subject to scrutiny by the Assembly. The Executive Office has supplied this Order to any media outlet that requested it and has provided media with details of the legislation under which the appointment was made since it was announced.
“It is interesting to note the panic and hysteria of opposition MLAs following the appointment of the Executive Press Secretary. Their reaction, though not surprising, was expected from parties who are struggling to cope with the new political framework at Stormont. Parties who, in government, had no hesitation in appointing their own specialist advisers are now, in opposition, expressing feigned outrage.
“The reality of opposition, and its powerlessness, is now starting to dawn on those who failed to persuade the electorate that they could be trusted to lead."
Notes to editors:
- Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
- Please access the following link to view a copy of the Civil Service (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland).
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