Belfast Telegraph

DUP members must force Arlene Foster's resignation over RHI, says head of SDLP

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called on DUP members to intervene and force Arlene Foster's resignation over the RHI affair.

Citing remarks by Mrs Foster in which she accused her rivals of misogyny, Mr Eastwood said: "Since this scandal broke, the DUP have used every weapon in their political arsenal.

"They have tried the orange card, the scapegoat card, the misogyny card and everything else in between. The one approach they have failed to adopt is showing a bit of humility and honesty."

He added: "It is time the DUP now accepted that each and all of their tactics have failed. We are long since past the point of no return for Arlene Foster and this crisis has gone on far too long. The DUP have run out of road."

"It is now decision time for senior members of the DUP - party loyalty must have its limits. No one individual should be bigger than their party and no one individual can be bigger than the privileged office they occupy."

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said the DUP and Sinn Fein needed to "get off their high horses" and not concoct a deal that "compromises openness and accountability".

"People won't accept a deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein over this scandal," she said.

"Openness and accountability are not something up for trading. We need to see a proper public inquiry - anything short will leave lingering suspicions. Public confidence requires those against whom there are major allegations to at least temporarily step aside."

Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken asked why steps to reduce the RHI spend were only being devised now, rather than when a critical report by auditors was published last summer.

He noted that in July 2015, current Economy minister Simon Hamilton said options to mitigate the costs were being actively considered.

"So the question is, six months later, what were the options that the minister was actively considering at the time of the Audit Office report, and what has become of these options?" Mr Aiken asked.

"It is time to end this nonsense. The minister should publish all the options that have been under 'active' consideration by him, both then and now."


From Belfast Telegraph