Donner may resign over Schiphol fire findings

21st September 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2006, AMSTERDAM — The official report by the Dutch Safety Council into the fatal fire at the Schiphol detention centre will be released on Thursday.

21 September 2006

AMSTERDAM — The official report by the Dutch Safety Council into the fatal fire at the Schiphol detention centre will be released on Thursday.

But the media attention is firmly on Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner. There is widespread speculation he will resign, possibly as early as today, because of the report's damning criticism of his officials.

Eleven people awaiting deportation died in the blaze at the detention centre in October last year.

Earlier this month a draft version of the report — leaked to the media — included the assessment that fewer people would have died had government officials adhered to construction and safety regulations.

RTL News reported on Thursday morning that the final version of the report is even more damning for Donner as it states the prison service, a division of the Justice ministry, had primary responsibility for fire safety at the facility.

The report also concludes "insufficient fire-safety drills" were held at the detention centre prior to the disaster.

The leadership of Donner's Christian Democrat Party (CDA) reportedly held an emergency meeting after reading the final report. Some of Donner's supporters don't believe he should be the fall guy but others feel he has no choice but to resign.

Donner is number 5 on the CDA list of candidates for the general election on 22 November. Resignation at this stage may have a knock on effect but it is too early to say what that effect might be.

Liberal Party Minister Sybilla Dekker (Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment) may also be in trouble as her officials are responsible for enforcing planning regulations.

The report will be published at 11am on Thursday morning and is being broadcast live (in Dutch) on RTL Z and by NOS News on Nederland 1 and on the internet.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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