Sunday 15 December 2019

McDonald turns down offer from Foster to begin talks over 'cash for ash' enquiry

Mary Lou McDonald Photo: Tom Burke
Mary Lou McDonald Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has turned down an offer from Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster to begin talks aimed at establishing an inquiry into the ‘cash for ash’ scandal.

However, Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin would still be open to forming a new power sharing executive with the DUP if Ms Foster remained as leader after the election.

Earlier today, Ms Foster said she wanted to begin an investigation into the flawed renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme by the end of the week.

However, Ms McDonald said the “fact remains” the DUP leader would have to step aside if an inquiry was to take place.

She said Ms Foster and her party are “living in a state of denial” and need to realise “the game is up”.

Ms McDonald confirmed the North is heading into an election and insisted Sinn Fein would be seeking a new deal after the vote.

She denied Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams played a significant role in Northern Ireland Deputy First Leader Martin McGuinness decisions to step down and in doing so collapsing the power sharing executive.

She said Mr McGuiness is an “independent minded man” and he took the decision to step down himself.

“Martin arrived at his decision in his own time and by himself but of course he brought that position and decision to firstly the Sinn Féin officer board some of us are member and then to the Sinn Fein ard comhairle. That happened on Sunday night,” she said.

“We are all supportive of his decision but be very clear he arrived at that decision himself and be very clear any of you who know Martin McGuinness, even in passing, (know) Martin is always single minded and independent in taking decisions as huge as that,” she added.

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