Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster says Sinn Fein actions 'not principled, they are political'

By Noel McAdam

This is the full text of a message from outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster on social media last night:

I am of course disappointed that Martin McGuinness has chosen to take the position he has today.

His actions have meant that at precisely the time when we need our government to be active, we will have no government and no obvious way to resolve the RHI problems.

On the 19th December, I apologised to the people of Northern Ireland for my responsibility as minister for the Renewable Heat Incentive and I do so again today.

Our efforts as a party these past weeks have been to try to find a solution to the problem.

Others have sought to exploit it for party political reasons.

I made a full statement to Stormont outlining all aspects of the scheme and answering questions, but Sinn Fein and the other parties didn't show up.

We put forward a proposal to Sinn Fein that would have ended the cost to the Northern Ireland budget caused by the scheme, at minimum cost to taxpayers.

But Sinn Fein rejected it.

I want to hold an immediate inquiry into the scheme right away.

But despite calling for it, Sinn Fein won't let me.

And it's clear that Sinn Fein's actions are not principles, they are political. And rather than seek to resolve this issue, Sinn Fein would rather take the people of Northern Ireland through the uncertainty of yet another election less than 12 months after the last one.

At a time when we are dealing with Brexit, needing to create more jobs and investing in our health and education system, Northern Ireland needs stability.

But because of Sinn Fein's selfish actions, we now have instability and I very much regret that.

Of course, if we have to fight an election, we will do it in the best interests of Northern Ireland, but it will not solve any of the problems that currently face us. This is not an election of our making.

But let me make it clear; the DUP will always defend unionism and stand up for what is best for Northern Ireland.

And, it appears from the Deputy First Minister's resignation letter, that that is what annoys Sinn Fein the most.

At this time we need strong leadership to put us in the best post-Brexit position and to continue to create more jobs.

Northern Ireland does not need an election, but solutions.

The DUP will continue to look for those solutions and work for a stronger, better Northern Ireland.

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