Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland politics will have to change in wake of RHI revelations, says DUP MLA Frew

Parties 'taking cheap shots' at DUP

DUP MLA Paul Frew has said Northern Ireland politics will have to change in the wake of the revelations from the RHI inquiry.

The inquiry into the botched green energy scheme  has heard of in-fighting within the DUP, the party's power structure of how special advisers were selected and essentially directing ministers and of allegations of "sexual misbehaviour" among its representatives.

Proceedings heard of how politics was a "grubby world," something the inquiry chair described as an "understatement".

There has also been claims of civil service incompetence in how the botched heating scheme was established, operated and monitored.

North Antrim representative Frew said he was "very concerned" with what he had heard from the inquiry so far but accused other party's of taking "cheap political shots".

"We welcome the inquiry and the more it goes on the more the more we welcome it," he told the BBC.

"I believe all party's will learn from this, I believe we will come out with better government and that's only a good thing."

Mr Frew was asked about Arlene Foster's tweet in which she called for "good governance" for Northern Ireland needed when the inquiry was hearing of an opposite picture of how the DUP operated while in power. He was asked if the tweet was a mistake on her part.

"No it wasn't," he added.

He was asked what it said of his party when special advisers admitted "politics was a grubby business".

"That is clearly going to have to change and there is going to have to be lessons learnt by my party and all others," he added.

He said the RHI inquiry was "no barrier" to the restoration of power sharing.

"We should have an Assembly and an Executive there tomorrow so that we can scrutinise legislation and laws".

Former Education Minister John O'Dowd said he didn't recognise the workings of government outlined in the RHI inquiry and was "confident" his party followed the rules of appointing special advisers.

"Dysfunctional does not even touch the sides of what we have heard," said Alliance leader Naomi Long.

"It's clear that for those of us of us who had ministers in the Executive.... we were kept in the dark."

UUP leader Robin Swann added: "It's a very expensive learning curve."

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