Monday 24 July 2017

Arlene Foster says she's been 'disgracefully maligned in the most vicious manner' over RHI scandal

First Minister Arlene Foster outside 10 Downing Street in London in October. Photo:
Reuters
First Minister Arlene Foster outside 10 Downing Street in London in October. Photo: Reuters

Northern Ireland's outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster has said she is open for discussions with Sinn Fein in the next few days following the shock resignation of Martin McGuinness.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland on Monday over Arlene Foster's refusal to stand aside during an investigation into the failed Renewable Heating Incentive.

McGuinness called on Foster to stand aside in his signed resignation. Photo: Reuters
McGuinness called on Foster to stand aside in his signed resignation. Photo: Reuters

The move by Mr McGuinness under the structure of Stormont's Executive Office also forces Mrs Foster from office.

Mr McGuinness said Mrs Foster's refusal to show humility over the scandal was "indicative of a deep seated arrogance which is inflicting enormous damage on the Executive, the Assembly and the entire body politic".

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the DUP leader said she had been "disgracefully maligned in the most vicious manner" over the RHI scandal.

She said that it was important that the "truth" came out.

Mrs Foster said she is calling for an investigation into the RHI to be set up under 2005 Inquiries Act. That would mean a public inquiry which would compel witnesses to attend and documents to be produced.

The DUP leader has said she hopes the process of getting the inquiry under way can start by the end of the week.

Earlier today Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire told the House of Commons that the current situation in Northern Ireland is grave and that the clock was ticking on an election.

As he urged the political parties to find a way around the current impasse he said it was  "entirely premature and unhelpful" to talk about the suspension of the devolved institutions.

Belfast Telegraph

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