The Department of Infrastucture is to appeal the High Court decision on the controversial waste incinerator at Mallusk.
Acting Head of Northern Ireland’s Civil Service David Sterling says the appeal is being taken to get clarity on what decisions senior civil servants can and cannot make.
“We should not have to step into the space normally occupied by ministers,” he said.
“We should be operating under the direction and control of ministers.
“Whilst ministers are absent, we want to do the best that we can to provide services.”
According to Mr Sterling, uncertainty over officials’ powers could have impacted the North West 200 – a major fixture on the sporting and tourism calendar.
“We have got the North West 200 this weekend and road closures for that were signed this year by the permanent secretary of the Department of Infrastructure.
“Those road closure orders would normally be signed by a minister.
“So the uncertainty we have is whether it is appropriate for officials to do anything that a minister would normally do.
“If that was the case, then we have to question would it have been possible to run the North West 200 this weekend?”